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The European Orthopaedic Research Society (EORS) 2018 Meeting, PART 2, Galway, Ireland, September 2018.


Tendons are dense connective tissues and critical components of the musculoskeletal system with known long repair process. Tissue engineering is a promising approach for achieving complete recovery of ruptured tendons. The most studies have focused on the combination of cells with various carriers; however, frequent times the biomaterials do not match the tissue organization and strength. For this reason, we first reviewed the literature for an alternative scaffold-free strategy for tendon engineering and second, we compared the cell sheet formation of two different cell types: bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) and tendon stem/progenitor cells (TSPCs). Methods: Literature search was performed in Pubmed using “tendon tissue engineering” and “scaffold-free” keywords and was limited to the last ten years. By using a 3-step protocol, BM-MSCs and TSPCs were induced to form cell sheets in 5 weeks. The sheets were compared by analysis for weight, diameter, cell density, tissue morphology (H&E and scoring) and cartilaginous matrix (DMMB and S.O. staining). Results: Scaffold-free models (cell sheets and pellet cultures) are available; however, further optimization is needed. Comparison between the two cell types clearly demonstrated that TSPCs form more mature cell sheet, while BMSCs form larger but less organized and differentiated sheet as judged by higher cell density and lower scoring outcome. Future efforts will focus on identifying mechanisms to speed BM-MSC sheet formation and maturation, which can in turn lead to development of new methodology for scaffold-free tendon tissue engineering.