IMPORTANCE OF THE FIELD: Tendon injuries are common especially in sports activities, but tendon is a unique connective tissue with poor self-repair capability. With advances in stem cell biology, tissue engineering is becoming increasingly powerful for tissue regeneration. Stem cells with capacity of multipotency and self-renewal are an ideal cell source for tissue engineering.
AREAS COVERED IN THIS REVIEW: This review focus on discussing the potential strategies including inductive growth factors, bio-scaffolds, mechanical stimulation, genetic modification and co-culture techniques to direct tendon-lineage differentiation of stem cells for complete tendon regeneration. Attempting to use embryonic stem cells as seed cells for tendon tissue engineering have achieved encouraging results. The combination of chemical and physical signals in stem cell microenvironment could be regulated to induce differentiation of the embryonic stem cells into tendon.
WHAT THE READER WILL GAIN: We summarize fundamental questions, as well as future directions in tendon biology and tissue engineering.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE: Multifaceted technologies are increasingly required to control stem cell differentiation, to develop novel stem cell-based therapy, and, ultimately, to achieve more effective repair or regeneration of injured tendons.
PMID: 20367125 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]