Affiliation: Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, Great Maze Pond, London SE1 9RT, England.
Tendon and ligament injuries are common, and repair slowly with reduced biomechanical properties. With increasing financial demands on the health service and patients to recover from tendon and ligament injuries faster, and with less morbidity, health professionals are exploring new treatment options. Tissue engineering may provide the answer, with its unlimited source of natural cells that in the correct environment may improve repair and regeneration of tendon and ligament tissue. Mesenchymal stem cells have demonstrated the ability to self renew and have multilineage differentiation potential. The use of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells has been reported, however significant in vitro culture expansion is required due to the low yield of cells, which has financial implications. Harvesting of bone marrow cells also has associated morbidity. Several studies have looked at alternative sources for mesenchymal stem cells. Reports in literature from animal studies have been encouraging, however further work is required. This review assesses the potential sources of mesenchymal stem cells for tissue engineering in tendons and ligaments.