The role of tendon derived stem/progenitor cells and extracellular matrix components in the bone tendon junction repair

Qin Shengnan, Samuel Bennett, Wang Wen, Li Aiguo, Xu Jiake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Fibrocartilage enthesis is the junction between bone and tendon with a typical characteristics of fibrocartilage transition zones. The regeneration of this transition zone is the bottleneck for functional restoration of bone tendon junction (BTJ). Biomimetic approaches, especially decellularized extracellular matrix (ECM) materials, are strategies which aim to mimic the components of tissues to the utmost extent, and are becoming popular in BTJ healing because of their ability not only to provide scaffolds to allow cells to attach and migrate, but also to provide a microenvironment to guide stem/progenitor cells lineage-specific differentiation. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms of those approaches, especially the ECM proteins, remain unclear. For BTJ reconstruction, fibrocartilage regeneration is the key for good integrity of bone and tendon as well as its mechanical recovery, so the components which can guide stem cells to a chondrogenic commitment in biomimetic approaches might well be the key for fibrocartilage regeneration and eventually for the better BTJ healing. In this review, we firstly discuss the importance of cartilage-like formation in the healing process of BTJ. Next, we explore the possibility of tendon-derived stem/progenitor cells as cell sources for BTJ regeneration due to their multi-differentiation potential. Finally, we summarize the role of extracellular matrix components of BTJ in guiding stem cell fate to a chondrogenic commitment, so as to provide cues for understanding the mechanisms of lineage-specific potential of biomimetic approaches as well as to inspire researchers to incorporate unique ECM components that facilitate BTJ repair into design.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116172
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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