Cox-2 inhibition and the composition of inflammatory cell populations during early and mid-time tendon healing

Parmis Blomgran, Robert Blomgran, Jan Ernerudh, Per Aspenberg
Muscles, Ligaments and Tendons Journal 2017, 7 (2): 223-229

Background: During early tendon healing, the cells within the regenerating tissue are, to a large part, inflammatory leukocytes (CD45+ ). In a rat Achilles tendon healing model, the inflammation resolves between 5 and 10 days. In the same model, Cox inhibitors (NSAIDs) impair healing when given during the first 5 days, but have a positive effect if given later. We tested the hypothesis that a Cox inhibitor would exert these effects by influencing inflammation, and thereby the composition of the inflammatory cell subpopulations.

Methods: Achilles tendon transection was performed in 44 animals. Animals were randomized to either parecoxib or saline injections. Healing was evaluated by mechanical testing day 7 after surgery and by flow cytometry day 3 and 10.

Results: Cross-sectional area, peak force and stiffness were reduced by parecoxib 31, 33, and 25% respectively (p=0.005, p=0.002, and p=0.005). By flow cytometry, there was a strong effect of time (p<0.001) on virtually all inflammatory cell subpopulations (CD45, CD11b, CD68, CCR7, CD163, CD206, CD3, CD4), but no significant effect of parecoxib at any time point.

Conclusion: The results suggest that the negative effects of Cox inhibitors on tendon healing might be exerted mainly via mechanisms not directly related to inflammatory cells.

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