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Evaluation of the Effects of Synovial Multipotent Cells on Deep Digital Flexor Tendon Repair in a Large Animal Model of Intra-Synovial Tendinopathy

Khan, M R; Smith, R K; David, F H; Lam, R; Hughes, G; DeGodoy, R; Carr, A J; Goodship, A E; Dudhia, J


M R Khan

R K Smith

F H David

R Lam

G Hughes

R DeGodoy

A J Carr

A E Goodship

J Dudhia


ntra‐synovial tendon injuries are a common orthopedic problem with limited treatment options. The synovium is a specialized connective tissue forming the inner encapsulating lining of diarthrodial joints and intra‐synovial tendons. It contains multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells that render it a viable source of progenitors for tendon repair. This study evaluated the effects of autologous implantation of cells derived from normal synovium (synovial membrane cells [SMCs]) in augmenting repair in an ovine model of intra‐synovial tendon injury. For this purpose, synovial biopsies were taken from the right digital flexor tendon sheath following creation of a defect to the lateral deep digital flexor tendon. Mononuclear cells were isolated by partial enzymatic digestion and assessed for MSC characteristics. Cell tracking and tendon repair were assessed by implanting 5 × 106 cells into the digital flexor tendon sheath under ultrasound guidance with the effects evaluated using magnetic resonance imaging and histopathology. Synovial biopsies yielded an average 4.0 × 105 ± 2.7 × 105 SMCs that exhibited a fibroblastic morphology, variable osteogenic, and adipogenic responses but were ubiquitously strongly chondrogenic. SMCs displayed high expression of CD29 with CD271NEGATIVE and MHC‐IILOW cell‐surface marker profiles, and variable expression of CD73, CD90, CD105, CD166, and MHC‐I. Implanted SMCs demonstrated engraftment within the synovium, though a lack of repair of the tendon lesion over 24 weeks was observed. We conclude healthy synovium is a viable source of multipotent cells, but that the heterogeneity of synovium underlies the variability between different SMC populations, which while capable of engraftment and persistence within the synovium exhibit limited capacity of influencing tendon repair.


Khan, M. R., Smith, R. K., David, F. H., Lam, R., Hughes, G., DeGodoy, R., …Dudhia, J. (2019). Evaluation of the Effects of Synovial Multipotent Cells on Deep Digital Flexor Tendon Repair in a Large Animal Model of Intra-Synovial Tendinopathy. Journal of Orthopaedic Research, 38(1), 128-138.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 10, 2019
Publication Date Aug 16, 2019
Deposit Date Oct 5, 2019
Publicly Available Date Dec 18, 2019
Print ISSN 0736-0266
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 38
Issue 1
Pages 128-138
Public URL


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