Tendinopathy, or degenerative tendons, affects millions of Americans in both occupational and athletic settings each year. Tendinopathy causes pain and discomfort, impairs work performance, and reduces quality of life. In spite of its high prevalence, current treatments of tendinopathy are not effective in restoring normal structure and function to degenerated tendons. In recent years, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has been a popular treatment option for tendinopathy;however, whether PRP treatment is effective remains a huge controversy in orthopaedic/sports medicine. The overall objective of this project is to address this issue by defining the effects of clinically-relevant PRP treatments, along with tendon stem cells (TSCs) and engineered tendon matrix (ETM), on a validated rabbit tendinopathy model at the cellular, tissue, and functional levels.
The specific aims of this project are: 1) to evaluate the effects of PRP treatment on the repair of tendinopathic tendons by PRP injection;2) to evaluate the effects of PRP treatment on the repair of tendinopathic tendons by implantation of PRP with TSCs;and 3) to evaluate the effects of adding ETM on the repair of tendinopathic tendons. This study is highly significant in light of the fact that PRP treatment is widely used in orthopaedic/sports medicine for tendinopathy treatment in the United States despite little available scientific data that support or refute its usages. This study is also highly innovative since a potent combination of natural healing growth factors (PRP), tendon-specific regenerative cells (TSCs), and tendon specific matrix (ETM) will be explored for the first time to enhance the repair of tendinopathic tendons. We anticipate that the findings of this study will lead to the application of this combination therapy clinically to effectively repair or possibly regenerate tendinopathic tendons, thus benefiting millions of tendinopathic patients in the United States alone.

Public Health Relevance

This project aims to enhance repair of degenerative tendons (tendinopathy) using platelet-rich plasma (PRP), regenerative tendon-specific stem cells, and engineered tendon matrix. The results of this study will impact orthopaedic/sports medicine practice by providing much awaited scientific data on PRP treatment of tendinopathy.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Musculoskeletal Tissue Engineering Study Section (MTE)
Program Officer
Wang, Fei
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Pittsburgh
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Neph, Alyssa; Onishi, Kentaro; Wang, James H-C (2018) Myths and Facts of In-Office Regenerative Procedures for Tendinopathy: Literature Review. Am J Phys Med Rehabil :
Thampatty, Bhavani P; Wang, James H-C (2018) Mechanobiology of young and aging tendons: In vivo studies with treadmill running. J Orthop Res 36:557-565
Wang, James H-C; Zhao, Guangyi; Li, Bin (2016) Measurement of Cell Motility Using Microgrooved Substrates. Methods Mol Biol 1365:293-9
Zhang, Jianying; Yuan, Ting; Wang, James H-C (2016) Moderate treadmill running exercise prior to tendon injury enhances wound healing in aging rats. Oncotarget 7:8498-512
Yuan, Ting; Zhang, Jianying; Zhao, Guangyi et al. (2016) Creating an Animal Model of Tendinopathy by Inducing Chondrogenic Differentiation with Kartogenin. PLoS One 11:e0148557
Wang, James H-C; Zhao, Guangyi; Li, Bin (2016) The Study of Cell Motility by Cell Traction Force Microscopy (CTFM). Methods Mol Biol 1365:301-13
Wang, James H-C; Komatsu, Issei (2016) Tendon Stem Cells: Mechanobiology and Development of Tendinopathy. Adv Exp Med Biol 920:53-62
Zhou, Yiqin; Wang, James H-C (2016) PRP Treatment Efficacy for Tendinopathy: A Review of Basic Science Studies. Biomed Res Int 2016:9103792
Wang, James H-C; Nirmala, Xavier (2016) Application of Tendon Stem/Progenitor Cells and Platelet-Rich Plasma to Treat Tendon Injuries. Oper Tech Orthop 26:68-72
Wu, Huiyan; Zhao, Guangyi; Zu, Hongfei et al. (2016) Real-Time Monitoring of Platelet Activation Using Quartz Thickness-Shear Mode Resonator Sensors. Biophys J 110:669-679

Showing the most recent 10 out of 27 publications