Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Derived Extracellular Vesicles in Tendon and Ligament Repair-A Systematic Review of In Vivo Studies.
Tendon and ligament injury poses an increasingly large burden to society. This systematic review explores whether mesenchymal stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles (MSC-EVs) can facilitate tendon/ligament repair in vivo. On 26 May 2021, a systematic search was performed on PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, Embase, to identify all studies that utilised MSC-EVs for tendon/ligament healing. Studies administering EVs isolated from human or animal-derived MSCs into in vivo models of tendon/ligament injury were included. In vitro, ex vivo, and in silico studies were excluded, and studies without a control group were excluded. Out of 383 studies identified, 11 met the inclusion criteria. Data on isolation, the characterisation of MSCs and EVs, and the in vivo findings in in vivo models were extracted. All included studies reported better tendon/ligament repair following MSC-EV treatment, but not all found improvements in every parameter measured. Biomechanics, an important index for tendon/ligament repair, was reported by only eight studies, from which evidence linking biomechanical alterations to functional improvement was weak. Nevertheless, the studies in this review showcased the safety and efficacy of MSC-EV therapy for tendon/ligament healing, by attenuating the initial inflammatory response and accelerating tendon matrix regeneration, providing a basis for potential clinical use in tendon/ligament repair.