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Title: The role of the tenocyte in tendon mineralisation
Author: Agabalyan, Natacha Anahid
Awarding Body: University of Brighton
Current Institution: University of Brighton
Date of Award: 2013
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Despite tendons being the core link in the musculoskeletal system, transmitting force from muscle to bone, they are particularly prone to injury and degeneration. Arising as large tissue tears in athletes or accumulations of microdamage in ageing individuals, the prevalence of tendon injury has risen over the past 20 years. The lack of knowledge of this tissue has particular implications when it comes to understanding how tendon responds to damage through injury, disease or ageing. It is not known why tenocytes, the tendon cells secreting the extracellular matrix composing the tissue, fail to fully repair degenerated tendon with a suitable matrix. Under certain conditions, tenocytes are able to mineralise their matrix, which may limit the ability of tendons to function normally. In several avian species including the domestic chicken (galfus galfus domesticus), tendons of the hindlimb undergo apparent spontaneous mineralisation. Although the appearance of mineralised avian tendon has been previously described, the cellular processes underlying this mechanism are poorly understood. It is possible that the tenocytes within the tendon play an important role. The nature of the mineralised avian tendon and its cells in the adult chicken was investigated. The adult tissue showed a loss of the crimp morphology that is usually evident in healthy tendon tissue and presented markers of mineralisation in the central part of the tendons. The tissue and the cells in the mineralised regions expressed chondrogenic and osteogenic markers as well as tenogenic markers marking a change in the tendon matrix. Tenocyte plasticity was investigated, revealing a sub-set of cells capable of differentiating down different lineages. Evidence has been gathered suggesting a source of pluripotent cells exists within the tendon tissue. The results of this study suggest tendon mineralisation within the adult avian tendon is the result of an endochondral process, driven by the proliferation and differentiation of progenitor-like cells within the tendon tissue. A better understanding of this process could hopefully lead to the development of treatments for cases of ectopic mineralisation due to ageing, disease or injury in the human population.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available