Lin Wang, Weiwei Gao1, Kaiyu Xiong2, Kuan Hu3 and Xincun Liu3, Hui He2
Bone-tendon junction (BTJ) injuries are common and may be caused by acute trauma and delayed healing during exercise or work. To understand the nature of the healing process of BTJ injuries would help to prevent injuries and improve treatment. Thirty-three mature female rabbit hindlimbs were assigned to normal control (CON, n = 7) and injury groups (n = 26). The acute injury was established by administering one 7 plum-blossom needle puncture. Specimens were harvested post injury at 1, 2, 4, and 8 weeks (ND1W, n = 6; ND2W, n = 6; ND4W, n = 7; and ND8W, n = 7). The injury existed in all of the injury groups. Compared with the CON group, all of the animals in the injury group showed poor cell profiles, an unclear or undetectable tide mark, a proteoglycan area and profile changes; the BTJ cell density diminished significantly in the ND1W (p < 0.01), ND2W (p < 0.05), ND4W (p < 0.01), and ND8W groups (p < 0.01); the fibrocartilage zone thickness in all injury groups was significantly thicker than in the CON group (p < 0.05), but no significant difference was found among the injury groups (p>0.05). The basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) expression in the CON group was significantly less than in the ND1W group (p<0.01), but no significant difference was found when compared with the ND2W, ND4W, and ND8W groups. The bFGF expression in the ND1W group was higher than that of the ND4W (p < 0.05) and ND8W groups (p < 0.01). The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels were not significantly different among the groups (p > 0.05). The bFGF and VEGF expression levels indicated that the healing process stopped at 8 weeks post injury or was not activated, although the injury had not healed by histological examination. A repeatable animal model of BTJ acute injury was established in this study, and the results described the BTJ acute injury healing difficult concerned with the repairing stop.
Key words: Bone-tendon junction injury, puncture, histology, growth factor