Stimulation of tendon repair by platelet concentrate, CDMP-2 and mechanical loading in animal models
Abstract: Growth factor delivery may be useful to accelerate the rate of tendon healing. We studied Platelet Concentrate, which in effect can be regarded as a cocktail of growth factors relevant for tendon healing. In a rat Achilles tendon transection model, one postoperative injection of Platelet Concentrate resulted in increased strength even 3 weeks later.Mechanical stimulation improves the repair of ruptured tendons. We studied the effects of platelets upon Achilles tendon regenerates in rats 3, 5 and 14 days after transection, either unloaded or mechanically stimulated. At 14 days, physical activity and platelets increased repair independently. Unloading decreased the mechanical properties of the repair tissue to less than half of normal. Moreover, the platelets had no effect without loading.Thrombin, which we used for platelet activation, improved healing of the rat Achilles tendon by itself. Conversely, continuous inhibition of thrombin by low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) inhibited tendon repair. However, intermittent inhibition, similar to clinical thromboprophylaxis, had no effect on tendon healing.Cartilage Derived Morphogenetic Protein-2 (CDMP-2) can improve tendon healing in loaded defect models. We now studied unloaded repair in a rabbit patellar tendon model. Two hours postoperative, the rabbits received CDMP-2 injected into the haematoma. The healing tendon became 65 % stronger than controls. We then studied Achilles tendon healing with CDMP-2 injections in sheep, to get a bigger animal model. There was an unexpectedly high variation of repair in these animals, and the study turned out to be underpowered. Spontaneous ruptures in humans have a more variable geometry than in our sheep model, so humans can also be expected to vary a lot in mechanical characteristics of Achilles tendon repair. This accentuates the importance of individualized rehabilitation programs.In conclusion, both platelet concentrate and CDMP-2 injections might be of interest for clinical use as a complement to surgical or conservative treatment of tendon ruptures. Platelet treatment for tendon ruptures should probably be combined with early physiotherapy.
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