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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 129515, 9 pages
Review Article

Regenerative Medicine in Rotator Cuff Injuries

1Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche per la Salute, Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Mangiagalli 31, 20133 Milan, Italy
2IRCCS Policlinico San Donato, Via Morandi 30, San Donato Milanese, 20097 Milan, Italy
3IRCCS Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi, Via Galeazzi 4, 20161 Milan, Italy

Received 28 February 2014; Revised 23 July 2014; Accepted 27 July 2014; Published 13 August 2014

Academic Editor: Tomokazu Yoshioka

Copyright © 2014 Pietro Randelli et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Rotator cuff injuries are a common source of shoulder pathology and result in an important decrease in quality of patient life. Given the frequency of these injuries, as well as the relatively poor result of surgical intervention, it is not surprising that new and innovative strategies like tissue engineering have become more appealing. Tissue-engineering strategies involve the use of cells and/or bioactive factors to promote tendon regeneration via natural processes. The ability of numerous growth factors to affect tendon healing has been extensively analyzed in vitro and in animal models, showing promising results. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a whole blood fraction which contains several growth factors. Controlled clinical studies using different autologous PRP formulations have provided controversial results. However, favourable structural healing rates have been observed for surgical repair of small and medium rotator cuff tears. Cell-based approaches have also been suggested to enhance tendon healing. Bone marrow is a well known source of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Recently, ex vivo human studies have isolated and cultured distinct populations of MSCs from rotator cuff tendons, long head of the biceps tendon, subacromial bursa, and glenohumeral synovia. Stem cells therapies represent a novel frontier in the management of rotator cuff disease that required further basic and clinical research.