Tendon-bone healing is a progressive and complex pathophysiological process after tendon graft transplantation into a bone tunnel. A fibrous scar tissue layer forms at the graft-bone interface, which means a weak bonding of the graft in the bone tunnel. Periosteum, a favourable autologous tissue, was confirmed to be effective in promoting tendon-bone healing in the human body. The advantages of a periosteum patch for tendon-bone repair include the fact that this tissue meets the three primary requirements for tissue engineering: a source of progenitor cells, a scaffold for recruiting cells and growth factors, and a source of local growth factors. Furthermore, the periosteum can prevent graft micromotion, alleviate inflammation and deter bone resorption. In this review, we highlight the role of progenitor cells in the periosteum, which contribute to the regeneration of new bone and/or fibrocartilage at the tendon-bone interface. In summary, the periosteum has shown significant potential for use in the enhancement of graft-bone healing. Our investigations may provoke further studies on the management of allograft-bone healing and artificial ligament graft healing using a periosteum patch in future.
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