Introduction: Tendons establish specific connections between muscles and the skeleton by transferring contraction forces from skeletal muscle to bone thereby allowing body movement. Tendon physiology and pathology are heavily dependent on mechanical stimuli. Tendon injuries clinically represent a serious and still unresolved problem since damaged tendon tissues heal very slowly and no surgical treatment can restore a damaged tendon to its normal structural integrity and mechanical strength. Understanding how mechanical stimuli regulate tendon tissue homeostasis and regeneration will improve the treatment of adult tendon injuries that still pose a great challenge in todays medicine. Source of data: This review summarizes the current status of tendon treatment and discusses new directions from the point of view of cell-based therapy and regenerative medicine approach. We searched the available literature using PubMed for relevant original articles and reviews. Growing points: Identification of tendon cell markers has enabled us to study precisely tendon healing and homeostasis. Clinically, tissue engineering for tendon injuries is an emerging technology comprising elements from the fields of cellular source, scaffold materials, growth factors/cytokines and gene delivering systems. Areas timely for developing research: The clinical settings to establish appropriate microenvironment for injured tendons with the combination of these novel cellular- and molecular-based scaffolds will be critical for the treatment.
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