Tendons are powerful 3D biomechanically structures combining a few cells in an intrincated and highly hierarchical niche environment. When tendon homeostasis is compromised, restoration of functionality upon injury is limited and requires alternatives to current augmentation or replacement strategies. Cell sheet technologies are a powerful tool for the fabrication of living extracellular-rich patches towards regeneration of tenotopic defects. Thus, we originally propose the development of magnetically responsive tenogenic patches through magnetic cell sheet (magCSs) technology that enable the remote control upon implantation of the tendon-mimicking constructs. A Tenomodulin positive (TNMD+) subpopulation of cells sorted from a crude population of human adipose stem cells (hASCs) previously identified as being prone to tenogenesis was selected for the magCSs patch construction. We investigated the stability, the cellular co-location of the iron oxide nanoparticles (MNPs), as well as the morphology and mechanical properties of the developed magCSs. Moreover, the expression of tendon markers and collagenous tendon-like matrix were further assessed under the actuation of an external magnetic field.
Overall, this study confirms the potential to bioengineer tendon patches using a magnetic cell sheet construction with magnetic responsiveness, good mechanoelastic properties and a tenogenic prone stem cell population envisioning cell-based functional therapies towards tendon regeneration.