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Directed Differentiation and Paracrine Mechanisms of Mesenchymal Stem Cells: Potential Implications for Tendon Repair and Regeneration

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Background: Tendon is composed of connective tissue, is able to retract with high tensile force, and plays a significant role in musculoskeletal motion. However, inappropriate physical training or accidents often result in tendon injuries. So far, the functional healing of injured tendon is still a great challenge in orthopedics. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multilineage cells with the ability to self-renew and differentiate into a variety of cell types, including tenocytes. The plasticity of MSCs gives rise to the chance of improved healing of injured tendons and even tissue-engineered tendons. Recently, more and more works have shown that the paracrine mechanisms of MSCs also play a critical role in driving the tendon repair process.

Objective: The purpose of this review is to summarize the current knowledge of the induction of tenogenic differentiation of MSCs by mechanical, chemical and mechanochemical stimulations. The role of paracrine mechanisms of MSCs during the repair of injured tendons is also discussed.

Conclusion: The multilineage potential and the paracrine effects of MSCs create the chance for improved healing of injured tendons and even tissue-engineered tendons. The understanding of the regulation of the two different repair mechanisms (directed differentiation and paracrine) of MSCs has important implications for tendon repair and regeneration.
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Keywords: Mesenchymal stem cells; directed differentiation; injury; paracrine; repair; tendon

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2017

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  • Current Stem Cell Research & Therapy publishes frontier reviews on all aspects of basic research on stem cells and their uses in clinical therapy. The journal's aim is to publish the highest quality review articles in the field. The journal is essential reading for all researchers and clinicians involved in stem cells.
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