Effect of adipose-derived mesenchymal stromal cells on tendon healing in aging and estrogen deficiency: An in vitro co-culture model

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Background aims: Aging and estrogen deficiency play a pivotal role in reducing tenocyte proliferation, collagen turnover and extracellular matrix remodeling. Mesenchymal stromal cells are being studied as an alternative for tendon regeneration, but little is known about the molecular events of adipose-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (ADSCs) on tenocytes in tendons compromised by aging and estrogen deficiency. The present in vitro study aims to compare the potential therapeutic effects of ADSCs, harvested from healthy young (sham) and aged estrogen-deficient (OVX) subjects, for tendon healing. Methods: An indirect co-culture system was set up with ADSCs, isolated from OVX or sham rats, and tenocytes from OVX rats. Cell proliferation, healing rate and gene expression were evaluated in both a standard culture condition and a microwound-healing model. Results: It was observed that tenocyte proliferation, healing rate and collagen expression improved after the addition of sham ADSCs in both culture situations. OVX ADSCs also increased tenocyte proliferation and healing rate but less compared with sham ADSCs. Decorin and Tenascin C expression increased in the presence of OVX ADSCs. Conclusions: Findings suggest that ADSCs might be a promising treatment for tendon regeneration in advanced age and estrogen deficiency. However, some differences between allogenic and autologous cells were found and should be investigated in further in vivo studies. It appears that allogenic ADSCs improve tenocyte proliferation, collagen expression and the healing rate more than autologous cells. Autologous cells increase collagen expression only in the absence of an injury and increase Decorin and Tenascin C more than allogenic cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1536-1544
Number of pages9
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2015


  • Adipose tissue
  • Aging
  • Estrogen deficiency
  • In vitro study
  • Mesenchymal stromal cells
  • Microwound
  • Tendons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Oncology
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Transplantation
  • Cancer Research
  • Cell Biology


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