Restrictive adhesions are a common complication of tendon injury and repair in the hand, resulting in severe dysfunction. Creating a barrier between the repair sites and surrounding tissue layers may prevent adhesions. We present the first stage in the process of developing a synovial biomembrane for this purpose. Synovial cells harvested from the Achilles tendon sheath and the knee joint of a Wistar albino rat were cultured for 2 weeks in culture medium, and then impregnated into a collagen type 1 matrix for another 2 weeks. Cells originating from both tendon and synovium demonstrated cell growth and layer formation on the surfaces of the matrix 2 weeks after impregnation. Alcian blue staining using Scott's method demonstrated the presence of acidic mucopolysaccharide, indicating hyaluronic acid (HA) production. This provides indirect evidence of functioning synovial cells on the membrane. It is possible to culture synovial cells and engineer a synoviocyte-collagen membrane that synthesizes endogenous HA. Application of this biomembrane to tendon repair sites may help to prevent adhesions after tendon repairs. Evaluation of this method on in vivo models is required. (C) 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.