Effect of Aging on Tendon Biology, Biomechanics and Implications for Treatment Approaches

International journal of molecular sciences(2023)

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Tendon aging is associated with an increasing prevalence of tendon injuries and/or chronic tendon diseases, such as tendinopathy, which affects approximately 25% of the adult population. Aged tendons are often characterized by a reduction in the number and functionality of tendon stem/progenitor cells (TSPCs), fragmented or disorganized collagen bundles, and an increased deposition of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), leading to pain, inflammation, and impaired mobility. Although the exact pathology is unknown, overuse and microtrauma from aging are thought to be major causative factors. Due to the hypovascular and hypocellular nature of the tendon microenvironment, healing of aged tendons and related injuries is difficult using current pain/inflammation and surgical management techniques. Therefore, there is a need for novel therapies, specifically cellular therapy such as cell rejuvenation, due to the decreased regenerative capacity during aging. To augment the therapeutic strategies for treating tendon-aging-associated diseases and injuries, a comprehensive understanding of tendon aging pathology is needed. This review summarizes age-related tendon changes, including cell behaviors, extracellular matrix (ECM) composition, biomechanical properties and healing capacity. Additionally, the impact of conventional treatments (diet, exercise, and surgery) is discussed, and recent advanced strategies (cell rejuvenation) are highlighted to address aged tendon healing. This review underscores the molecular and cellular linkages between aged tendon biomechanical properties and the healing response, and provides an overview of current and novel strategies for treating aged tendons. Understanding the underlying rationale for future basic and translational studies of tendon aging is crucial to the development of advanced therapeutics for tendon regeneration.
tendon aging and degeneration,tendinopathy,tendon stem/progenitor cells,extracellular matrix,biomechanical properties,tendon healing,treatment and therapy
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