Tendon injuries in horses account for between 30 and 50 percent of all musculoskeletal injuries and reinjury is common; treatment with embryonic stem cells may increase a horse's chances of successfully returning to work–and staying there.
When a horse tears the fibers in a tendon, inflammation occurs at the injury site and scar tissue is formed. Scar tissue is biomechanically inferior to healthy tendon tissue and can predispose a horse to reinjury. Tendon injuries occur in a variety of disciplines and are a leading cause of unplanned retirement for horses.
Scientists at Britain's Animal Health Trust note that the inflammation that occurs after the injury prevents the tendon cells from healing efficiently. However, in a laboratory setting, the researchers found that embryonic stem cells directed to turn into tendon cells acted normally when exposed to inflammation; the inflammation did not affect their ability to help heal tendon tissue.
The scientists conclude that stem cells may be able to be transplanted into the injured tendon and assist with repair as they are not affected by inflammation. Further research is needed to understand how embryonic stem cells protect themselves from inflammation, which could lead to new treatments for protecting tendon cells after an injury, allowing more horses to remain in work.
Read more at HorseTalk.
Read the full study here.
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