Ongoing research into tendon maturation and repair includes :
- The Effect of Decorin and Biglycan Modulation on Equine Tendon Formation: Two studies have been funded by the UC Davis Center for Equine Health. In the first study, we examined how the supplementation of exogenous forms of small leucine-rich repeat proteoglycans affect the formation of tendon in three-dimensional constructs of equine tendon proper and peritenon cells. A second CEH-funded study is underway to harness an MSC delivery mechanism for recombinant SLRPs. The first paper for this research has already been published: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jevs.2018.10.011 . As a part of the project and with partial support from the UC Davis Animal Biology Graduate Group Henry A. Jastro Graduate Research Award won by Monica Pechanec, we optimized the tendon construct model for equine cells in collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Keith Baar. A second paper has been submitted for review that describes that positive effects of SLRP supplementation on equine tendon formation.
- Decoding Equine Tendon Transcriptomes to Understand Tendon Growth, Maturation, and Aging: A study funded by the Morris Animal Foundation in which we are using transcroptomics to: (a) resolve gene structure deficiencies for the equine genome, particularly for tendon-specific genes; (b) determining expression levels for transcripts produced in cells of the tendon proper and peritenon; and (c) using pathway analyses to determine how cells’ roles in tendon physiology differ with growth, maturation, and aging. Recently an abstract was submitted for the Plant & Animal Genome Conference XXVII.
- Investigating the Association Between Transcriptome Expression and Genome Methylation in the Aging Horse Tendon: Leveraging data acquired from the Morris Animal Foundation study, we are also working to begin understanding how gene expression is regulated with age. Monica Pechanec received funds from the Animal Biology Graduate Group Henry A. Jastro Graduate Research Award to examine these relationships.
- How Age Affects Tenogenic Potential of Murine Progenitor Cells: A study funded by the UC Davis Veterinary Institute for Regenerative Cures is also ongoing in which we are examining the impact of age on tendon progenitor tendon formation capabilities. An understanding of the tendon formation capabilities of these cells will allow us to determine utility of each population for tissue engineering and could lead to strategies as to how to bolster their tendon forming potentials.