When injured, tendons tend to heal but with poor structure and compromised function. Tissue engineering is a promising approach to enhancing the quality of healing tendons. Our group and others have identified tendon stem cells (TSCs), a type of tendon-specific stem cells which may be optimal for cellular interventions seeking to restore normal structure and function to injured tendons. However, in vitro expanding of TSCs on regular plastic cell culture dishes only yields a limited number of TSCs before they lose the stemness, i.e., the self-renewal capability and multipotency. In this study, we developed a substrate material for TSCs, engineered tendon matrix (ETM) from decellularized tendon tissues. We showed that ETM in vitro was able to stimulate TSC proliferation and better preserve the stemness of TSCs than plastic culture surfaces. In vivo, implantation of ETM-TSC composite promoted tendon-like tissue formation whereas implantation of TSCs alone led to little such tissue formation. Together, the findings of this study indicate that ETM may be used to effectively expand TSCs in vitro and with TSCs, to enhance repair of injured tendons in vivo. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.