(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers at Columbia University have shown that transplanting stem cells into mice with rotator cuff injuries promotes tendon healing.
The failure rate for a rotator cuff tear ranges from 20% in young patients with small tears to 94% in older patients with large tears.
As the authors of the new study noted, the technology for repairing a torn rotator cuff was invented by the ancient Egyptians three thousand years ago and is used by modern surgeons.
The reason the operation often fails is the lack of enthesis regeneration. This is the area of connective tissue that holds the tendon to the bone. Without functional enthesis, the risk of re-rupture of the cuff is high.
Previously, the authors found that enthesis cells originate from a common ancestor: Gli1+ stem cells. They hypothesized that the addition of Gli1+ cells during surgery might promote enthesis regeneration.
The scientists confirmed their hunch by transplanting Gli1 cells into mice with rotator cuff injuries. This contributed to the healing of enthesis.
The authors emphasized that in order to use Gli1+ cells in therapy, it is necessary to find out which mechanisms are involved in the recovery process.
Scientists have already identified several genes and molecules involved in enthesis regeneration.
It is also necessary to find a suitable method for obtaining Gli1+ in the laboratory, since there are not many of these cells left in older people.
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