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Chronic tendinopathy in an active and ageing population represents an increasing burden to healthcare systems. Rotator cuff tendinopathy alone accounts for approximately 70 % of all shoulder pain. Tendinopathic tissue has a disorganised extracellular matrix, altered vasculature, and infiltration of fibroblasts and inflammatory cells. This altered biology may contribute to the limited success of surgical repair strategies. Electrospun resorbable scaffolds can potentially enhance endogenous repair mechanisms by influencing the tissue microenvironment. Polydioxanone (PDO) has an established safety profile in patients. We compared the response of healthy and diseased human tendon cells to electrospun PDO fibres using live cell imaging, proliferation, flow cytometry, and gene expression studies. Within 4 h of initial contact with electrospun PDO, healthy tendon cells underwent a marked transformation; elongating along the fibres in a fibre density dependent manner. Diseased tendon cells initially responded at a slower rate, but ultimately underwent a similar morphological change. Electrospun fibres increased the proliferation rate of diseased tendon cells and increased the ratio of type I:IIIcollagenmRNA expression. Flow cytometry revealed decreased expression of CD106, a marker of mesenchymal stem cells, and increased expression of CD10 on healthy versus diseased tendon cells. PDO electrospun scaffolds further promoted CD106negCD10pos expression of healthy tendon cells. Despite their behavioural differences, both healthy and diseased human tendon cells responded to electrospun PDO fibres. This encourages further work establishing their efficacy in augmenting surgical repair of diseased tendons.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur cell mater

Publication Date





169 - 182


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Cells, Cultured, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Polydioxanone, Rotator Cuff, Tendons, Tissue Engineering