Identity of tendon stem cells – how much do we know?
Article first published online: 28 DEC 2012
© 2012 The Authors Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine Published by Foundation for Cellular and Molecular Medicine/Blackwell Publishing Ltd
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Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Volume 17, Issue 1, pages 55–64, January 2013
How to Cite
Lui, P. P. Y. (2013), Identity of tendon stem cells – how much do we know?. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, 17: 55–64. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.12007
- Issue published online: 29 JAN 2013
- Article first published online: 28 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 8 NOV 2012
- Manuscript Received: 9 JUL 2012
- Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities
- General Research Fund from the University Grant Council. Grant Number: 471411
- tendon stem cells;
- tendon injury;
- in vivo identity;
- stem cell niche
Tendon stem cells are multi-potent adult stem cells with broad differentiation plasticity that render them of great importance in cell-based therapies for the repair of tendons. We called them tendon-derived stem cells (TDSCs) to indicate the tissue origin from which the stem cells were isolated in vitro. Based on the work of other sources of MSCs and specific work on TDSCs, some properties of TDSCs have been characterized / implicated in vitro. Despite these findings, tendon stem cells remained controversial cells. This was because MSCs residing in different organs, although very similar, were not identical cells. There is evidence of differences in stem cell-related properties and functions related to tissue origins. Similar to other stem cells, tendon stem cells were identified and characterized in vitro. Their in vivo identities, niche (both anatomical locations and regulators) and roles in tendons were less understood. This review aims to summarize the current evidence of the possible anatomical locations and niche signals regulating the functions of tendon stem cells in vivo. The possible roles of tendon stem cells in tendon healing and non-healing are presented. Finally, the potential strategies for understanding the in vivo identity of tendon stem cells are discussed.