Use of platelet-rich plasma to enhance tendon function and cellularity

John G Lane, Robert M Healey, Derek C Chase, David Amiel
American Journal of Orthopedics 2013, 42 (5): 209-14
Clinical studies have shown inconsistent healing with subjective improvement after use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) for tendinosis and partial tendon tears. We conducted a study to assess changes after injecting PRP into an intact rabbit patellar tendon (PT) model. In the study group (n = 10), an incision was made over the PT and PRP was injected into multiple sites on the PT. The control group (n = 8) was injected with saline. PTs were harvested 7 and 28 days after injection. Hematoxylin-eosin staining showed hypercellularity in the PRP group at 7 days, but the effect was not as marked at 28 days. At 7 days, polarized microscopy showed increased crimp density of collagen in the PRP group, compared with the control group, demonstrating up-regulation in collagen matrix. Cellular proliferation measured by tritiated thymidine was also significantly increased (P = .02) in the PRP group, compared with the control group, but the difference was not as significant at 28 days. At 7 and 28 days, there were no significant changes in basic fibroblast growth factor, insulin-like growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor, or platelet-derived growth factor with 2B chains. Injection of PRP into rabbit PT enhances collagen remodeling and hypercellularity with increased metabolic activity, which could have a positive effect on healing.


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