The revitalisation of flexor tendon allografts with bone marrow stromal cells and mechanical stimulation: An ex vivo model revitalising flexor tendon allografts

J. H. Wu, A. R. Thoreson, A. Gingery, K. N. An, S. L. Moran, P. C. Amadio, C. Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objectives: The present study describes a novel technique for revitalising allogenic intrasynovial tendons by combining cell-based therapy and mechanical stimulation in an ex vivo canine model. Methods: specifically, canine flexor digitorum profundus tendons were used for this study and were divided into the following groups: (1) untreated, unprocessed normal tendon; (2) decellularised tendon; (3) bone marrow stromal cell (BMsc)-seeded tendon; and (4) BMsc-seeded and cyclically stretched tendon. Lateral slits were introduced on the tendon to facilitate cell seeding. Tendons from all four study groups were distracted by a servohydraulic testing machine. Tensile force and displacement data were continuously recorded at a sample rate of 20 Hz until 200 Newton of force was reached. Before testing, the cross-sectional dimensions of each tendon were measured with a digital caliper. Young's modulus was calculated from the slope of the linear region of the stress-strain curve. The BMscs were labeled for histological and cell viability evaluation on the decellularized tendon scaffold under a confocal microscope. Gene expression levels of selected extracellular matrix tendon growth factor genes were measured. Results were reported as mean ± sD and data was analyzed with oneway AnoVAs followed by Tukey's post hoc multiple-comparison test. Results: We observed no significant difference in cross-sectional area or in Young's modulus among the four study groups. In addition, histological sections showed that the BMscs were aligned well and viable on the tendon slices after two-week culture in groups three and four. expression levels of several extracellular matrix tendon growth factors, including collagen type I, collagen type III, and matrix metalloproteinase were significantly higher in group four than in group three (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Lateral slits introduced into de-cellularised tendon is a promising method of delivery of BMscs without compromising cell viability and tendon mechanical properties. In addition, mechanical stimulation of a cell-seeded tendon can promote cell proliferation and enhance expression of collagen types I and III in vitro.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-185
Number of pages7
JournalBone and Joint Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2017


  • Bone marrow stromal cells
  • Stretch
  • Tendon allografts revitalisation
  • Tendon slice
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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