The effect of adipose-derived stem cell sheets and CTGF on early flexor tendon healing in a canine model

Hua Shen, Rohith Jayaram, Susumu Yoneda, Stephen W. Linderman, Shelly E. Sakiyama-Elbert, Younan Xia, Richard H. Gelberman, Stavros Thomopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Intrasynovial tendon injuries are among the most challenging in orthopedics. Despite significant improvements in operative and rehabilitation methods, functional outcomes continue to be limited by adhesions, gap formation, and rupture. Adhesions result from excessive inflammation, whereas tendon gapping and rupture result from inflammation-induced matrix degradation and insufficient regeneration. Therefore, this study used a combined treatment approach to modulate inflammation with adipose-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (ASCs) while stimulating tendon regeneration with connective tissue growth factor (CTGF). ASCs were applied to the repair surface via cell sheets and CTGF was delivered to the repair center via porous sutures. The effect of the combined treatment was assessed fourteen days after repair in a canine flexor tendon injury model. CTGF, either alone or with ASCs, reduced inflammatory (IL1B and IL6) and matrix degrading (MMP3 and MMP13) gene expression, while increasing anti-inflammatory gene (IL4) expression and collagen synthesis compared to control repairs. The combined treatment was more effective than CTGF treatment alone, reducing the inflammatory IFNG and scar-associated COL3A1 gene expression and increasing CD146+ tendon stem/progenitor cells at the tendon surface and interior along the core suture tracks. Therefore, the combined approach is promising in promoting early flexor tendon healing and worthy of further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11078
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


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