From the perspective of embryonic tendon development: various cells applied to tendon tissue engineering

Fangjie Qi, Zhantao Deng, Yuanchen Ma, Shuai Wang, Chang Liu, Fengjuan Lyu, Tao Wang, Qiujian Zheng


There is a high risk of injury from damage to the force-bearing tissue of the tendon. Due to its poor self-healing ability, clinical interventions for tendon injuries are limited and yield unsatisfying results. Tissue engineering might supply an alternative to this obstacle. As one of the key elements of tissue engineering, various cell sources have been used for tendon engineering, but there is no consensue concerning a single optimal source. In this review, we summarized the development of tendon tissue from the embryonic stage and categorized the used cell sources in tendon engineering. By comparing various cell sources as the candidates for tendon regeneration, each cell type was found to have its advantages and limitations; therefore, it is difficult to define the best cell source for tendon engineering. The microenvironment cells located is also crucial for cell growth and differentiation; so, the optimal cells are unlikely to be the same for each patient. In the future, the clinical application of tendon engineering might be more precise and customized in contrast to the current use of a standardized/generic one-size-fits-all procedure. The best cell source for tendon engineering will require a case-based assessment.