Cellular and molecular factors influencing tendon repair

Sushmitha Durgam, Matthew Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tendons are complex connective tissues that transmit tensile forces between muscles and tendons. Tendon injuries are among the most common orthopedic problems with long-term disability as a frequent consequence due to prolonged healing time. Furthermore, the repair tissue is of inferior quality, predisposing patients to high rates of recurrence following initial injury. Coordinated cellular processes and biological factors under the influence of mechanical loading are involved in tendon healing and our understanding of these events lags behind other musculoskeletal tissues. Tendons are relatively hypocellular and hypovascular, with little or no intrinsic regenerative capacity. Studies have documented fatty degeneration, chondrogenic dysplasia, and ectopic ossification within tendon repair tissue. The underlying pathogenesis for these metaplastic changes that compromise the quality of tendon repair tissue is poorly understood. The purpose of this review is to compile literature reporting molecular processes that regulate/control the phenotype of cells responsible for abnormal matrix deposition at repair site. In addition, recent studies reporting the interplay of mechanotransduction and cellular responses during tendon repair are summarized. Identifying the links between cellular, biological, and mechanical parameters involved in tendon repair is paramount to develop successful therapies for tendon healing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-317
Number of pages11
JournalTissue Engineering - Part B: Reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • TGFβ
  • chondro-osteogenic metaplasia
  • tendon degeneration
  • tendon healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering


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