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Stem Cells International
Volume 2012, Article ID 637836, 10 pages
Review Article

Stem Cell Applications in Tendon Disorders: A Clinical Perspective

1Department of Biotherapies, Mater Medical Research Institute, Aubigny Place, Raymond Terrace, South Brisbane, QLD 4101, Australia
2Qsportsmedicine, GPO Box 96, Brisbane, QLD 4000, Australia

Received 17 July 2011; Revised 16 October 2011; Accepted 18 October 2011

Academic Editor: Wasim S. Khan

Copyright © 2012 Mark Young. 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.


Tendon injuries are a common cause of morbidity and a significant health burden on society. Tendons are structural tissues connecting muscle to bone and are prone to tearing and tendinopathy, an overuse or degenerative condition that is characterized by failed healing and cellular depletion. Current treatments, for tendon tear are conservative, surgical repair or surgical scaffold reconstruction. Tendinopathy is treated by exercises, injection therapies, shock wave treatments or surgical tendon debridement. However, tendons usually heal with fibrosis and scar tissue, which has suboptimal tensile strength and is prone to reinjury, resulting in lifestyle changes with activity restriction. Preclinical studies show that cell therapies have the potential to regenerate rather than repair tendon tissue, a process termed tenogenesis. A number of different cell lines, with varying degrees of differentiation, have being evaluated including stem cells, tendon derived cells and dermal fibroblasts. Even though cellular therapies offer some potential in treating tendon disorders, there have been few published clinical trials to determine the ideal cell source, the number of cells to administer, or the optimal bioscaffold for clinical use.