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Human Fetal Progenitor Tenocytes for Regenerative Medicine.
Tendon injuries are very frequent and affect a wide and heterogeneous population. Unfortunately, the healing process is long with outcomes that are not often satisfactory due to fibrotic tissue appearance, which leads to scar and adhesion development. Tissue engineering and cell therapies emerge as interesting alternatives to classical treatments. In this study, we evaluated human fetal progenitor tenocytes (hFPTs) as a potential cell source for treatment of tendon afflictions, as fetal cells are known to promote healing in a scarless regenerative process. hFPTs presented a rapid and stable growth up to passage 9, allowing to create a large cell bank for off-the-shelf availability. hFPTs showed a strong tenogenic phenotype with an excellent stability, even when placed in conditions normally inducing cells to differentiate. The karyotype also indicated a good stability up to passage 12, which is far beyond that necessary for clinical application (passage 6). When placed in coculture, hFPTs had the capacity to stimulate human adult tenocytes (hATs), which are responsible for the deposition of a new extracellular matrix during tendon healing. Finally, it was possible to distribute cells in porous or gel scaffolds with an excellent survival, thus permitting a large variety of applications (from simple injections to grafts acting as filling material). All of these results are encouraging in the development of an off-the-shelf cell source capable of stimulating tendon regeneration for the treatment of tendon injuries.
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