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Extrinsic macrophages protect while tendon progenitors degrade: Insights from a tissue engineered model of tendon compartmental crosstalk

: Stauber, Tino; Wolleb, Maja; Duss, Anja; Jaeger, Patrick K.; Heggli, Irina; Hussein, Amro A.; Blache, Ulrich; Snedeker, Jess G.

Fulltext ()

Advanced healthcare materials 10 (2021), No.20, Art. 2100741, 14 pp.
ISSN: 2192-2659
ISSN: 2192-2640
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IZI ()
crosstalk; ex vivo tissue; macrophages; progenitors; Tendons; biomechanics

Tendons are among the most mechanically stressed tissues of the body, with a functional core of type-I collagen fibers maintained by embedded stromal fibroblasts known as tenocytes. The intrinsic load-bearing core compartment of tendon is surrounded, nourished, and repaired by the extrinsic peritendon, a synovial-like tissue compartment with access to tendon stem/progenitor cells as well as blood monocytes. In vitro tendon model systems generally lack this important feature of tissue compartmentalization, while in vivo models are cumbersome when isolating multicellular mechanisms. To bridge this gap, an improved in vitro model of explanted tendon core stromal tissue (mouse tail tendon fascicles) surrounded by cell-laden collagen hydrogels that mimic extrinsic tissue compartments is suggested. Using this model, CD146+ tendon stem/progenitor cell and CD45+F4/80+ bone-marrow derived macrophage activity within a tendon injury-like niche are recapitulated. It is found that extrinsic stromal progenitors recruit to the damaged core, contribute to an overall increase in catabolic ECM gene expression, and accelerate the decrease in mechanical properties. Conversely, it is found that extrinsic bone-marrow derived macrophages in these conditions adopt a proresolution phenotype that mitigates rapid tissue breakdown by outwardly migrated tenocytes and F4/80+ “tenophages” from the intrinsic tissue core.