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Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy: Pathways of Apoptosis.

Rotator cuff repair is usually successful, but retear is not uncommon. It has been previously identified that there is a higher incidence of apoptosis in the edges of the torn supraspinatus tendon. A prospective cohort study was conducted with 28 patients-14 rotator cuff tear patients, 5 instability patients, and 9 Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction patients to determine whether there was any increase in several genes implicated in apoptosis, including Fas receptor (FasR), Fas ligand, Aifm-1, Bcl-2, Fadd, Bax, and caspase-3. There was a significant expression of Bax (P=0.2) and FasR (P=0.005) in the edges of torn supraspinatus tendons, and in intact subscapularis tendons, there was a significant expression of caspase-3 (P=0.02) compared with samples from the torn supraspinatus tendon (P=0.04). The cytochrome c pathway, with its subsequent activation of caspase-3, as well as the TRAIL-receptor signaling pathway involving FasR have both been implicated. The elevated expression of Bax supported the model that the Bax to Bcl-2 expression ratio represents a cell death switch. The elevated expression of Bax in the intact subscapularis tissue from rotator cuff tear patients also may confirm that tendinopathy is an ongoing molecular process.

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