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


Tenocytes from several mammal species have been shown to be prone to phenotypic drift at early sub-culture passages. In the present study we compared allogenic and xenogenic serum supplementation suitability as a supplement for the in vitro expansion of equine tenocytes (eTCs), in combination with the presence or absence of crowding conditions. eTCs were isolated from superficial digital flexor tendon and expanded in normal growth medium containing DMEM, 10% appropriate serum, 1% penicillin/streptomycin solution. Isolation was performed by migration method in growth medium containing the selected serum. Silver staining, densitometry, zymography, immunofluorescence, metabolic activity, proliferation, viability and morphology were performed after 3, 5 and 7 days in culture with a seeding density of 10,000 cells/cm2. Treatment conditions were equine serum (ES) or foetal bovine serum (FBS), with or without 75 μg/mL of crowding agent carrageenan (CR). Viability and metabolic activity of eTCs were affected by FBS. eTCs in ES reached higher cell density than in FBS in day 7, especially with CR. Morphology of eTCs was maintained under different sera. Silver staining on pepsin digested cell layers shows that collagen type I deposition rate is remarkably enhanced in the presence of CR in all conditions. Immunofluorescence showed increased expression for collagen I, III, V and VI in both sera in the presence of CR. Deposition of all collagen types but type VI was increased by ES supplementation. We conclude that ES in combination with CR can represent a reliable choice for the ex vivo expansion of eTCs.