Investigating the efficacy of amnion-derived compared with bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells in equine tendon and ligament injuries

Cytotherapy. 2013 Aug;15(8):1011-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jcyt.2013.03.002. Epub 2013 Apr 17.


Background aims: This is the first study to compare the treatment of horse tendon and ligament injuries with the use of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) obtained from two different sources: amniotic membrane (AMSCs) and bone marrow (BM-MSCs). The objective was to prove the ability of AMSCs to exert beneficial effects in vivo.

Methods: Five million allogeneic frozen-thawed AMSCs or autologous fresh BM-MSCs were injected intralesionally in horses belonging to group A (51 horses) and group B (44 horses). The interval lesion/implantation was of 6-15 days for the AMSCs and 16-35 days for the BM-MSCs. Healing was assessed clinically and ultrasonographically. Follow-up was monitored for 2 further years from return to full work.

Results: No significant adverse effects after MSCs treatment were seen in any of the horses studied, independent of the type of stromal cell implanted. All animals belonging to group A resumed their activities between 4-5 months after treatment, whereas animals of group B resumed their activities after 4-12 months. The rate of re-injury in horses treated with AMSCs is lower (4.00%) compared with the average observed when horses were treated with BM-MSCs (23.08%).

Conclusions: The possibility to inject allogeneic AMSCs in real time, before any ultrasonographic change occurs within the injured tendon and ligament, together with the higher plasticity and proliferative capacity of these cells compared with BM-MSCs, represents the main features of interest for this novel approach for the treatment of equine tendon diseases. An obvious active proliferative healing in the area injected with AMSCs makes these cells more effective than BM-MSCs.

Keywords: amniotic mesenchymal cells; bone marrow mesenchymal cells; equine; re-injury; tendon disease.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Amnion / cytology*
  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Horses
  • Ligaments / injuries*
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation / veterinary*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Tendon Injuries / therapy*
  • Tendon Injuries / veterinary
  • Transplantation, Homologous / veterinary
  • Wound Healing