Reversing Age-Related Tendon Damage with Reprogrammed Tendon Stem Cells

Adults over 60 are much more likely to experience tendon injuries. Since tendons connect muscles to bones, tendon injuries can lead to substantial restrictions in movement and movement-associated pain.

Injured tendons tend to be left on their own to heal and, as I can attest to from personal experience, injured tendons can take a very long time to heal.

I new study, however, shows that tendon damage can be reversed with stem cell therapies.

Hui Sun from Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that reprogramming the CITED2 in aged tendon stem cells can not only reverse age-related dysfunction of these cells, but when implanted into injured, aged tendons, these engineered tendon stem cells healed and rejuvenated the tendons.

The CITED2 gene encodes a protein that inhibits transactivation of HIF1A-induced genes. It does so by competing with binding of hypoxia-inducible factor1α to its co-factor p300-CH1.

With therapies like this, older adults, even though they may always have to contend with gray hair and wrinkles, might not be concerned about decreased mobility in their advanced years after suffering an injury.

“We are developing a novel patient- and surgeon-friendly intervention for tendon tissue repair, especially in aged individuals,” Sun said. “We’re also working on strategies to rejuvenate aged tendon and other muscuoskeletal tissues based on this discovery.”