Aim: Adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) have been deeply characterized for their usefulness in musculoskeletal tissue regeneration; recently, other mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) sources have also been proposed. This study compares for the first time human tendon stem/progenitor cells isolated from hamstring tendons with human ASCs.
Materials & methods: Human TSPCs and ASCs were isolated from hamstring tendon portions and adipose tissue of healthy donors undergoing ACL reconstruction or liposuction, respectively (n = 7). Clonogenic ability, immunophenotype and multi-differentiation potential were assessed and compared.
Results: Both populations showed similar proliferation and clonogenic ability and expressed embryonic stem cell genes and MSC surface markers. Tendon stem/progenitor cells showed lower adipogenic and osteogenic ability, but after the chondrogenic differentiation, they produced more abundant glycosaminoglycans and expressed higher levels of aggrecan with regards to ASCs. The tenogenic induction with BMP-12 upregulated SCX and DCN gene expression in both populations.
Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that waste hamstring tendon fragments could represent a convenient MSC source for musculoskeletal regenerative medicine.
Keywords: adipose-derived stem cells; bone morphogenetic protein-12; multidifferentiation potential; musculoskeletal pathologies; regenerative medicine; tendon; tendon stem progenitor cells; tenogenic differentiation.