• tendon-derived stem cells (TDSCs);
  • tendon injury;
  • tendon regeneration or repair;
  • tendon tissue engineering


Injured tendons heal slowly and often result in the formation of mechanically and functionally inferior fibrotic scar tissue or fibrous adhesions. This study investigated the use of tendon-derived stem cells (TDSCs) for tendon repair in a rat patellar tendon window defect model. Fibrin glue constructs with or without GFP-TDSCs were transplanted into the window defect. The patellar tendons were harvested for histology, ex vivo fluorescent imaging and biomechanical test at various time points up to week 4. Our results showed that TDSCs significantly enhanced tendon healing as indicated by the increase in collagen production as shown by hematolxylin stain-ability of the tissue, improvement of cell alignment, collagen fiber alignment and collagen birefringence typical of tendon. The labeled cells were observed at weeks 1 and 2 and became almost undetectable at week 4. Both the ultimate stress and Young's modulus were significantly higher in the TDSCs group compared to those in the fibrin glue group at week 4. In conclusion, TDSCs promoted earlier and better repair in a rat patellar tendon window defect model. © 2011 Orthopaedic Research Society. © 2011 Orthopaedic Research Society Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 30:613–619, 2012