Journal Article FGF-2 Stimulates the Growth of Tenogenic Progenitor Cells to Facilitate the Generation of Tenomodulin-Positive Tenocytes in a Rat Rotator Cuff Healing Model.

Tokunaga, Takuya  ,  Shukunami, Chisa  ,  Okamoto, Nobukazu  ,  Taniwaki, Takuya  ,  Oka, Kiyoshi  ,  Sakamoto, Hidetoshi  ,  Ide, Junji  ,  Mizuta, Hiroshi  ,  Hiraki, Yuji

43 ( 10 )  , pp.2411 - 2422 , 2015-10 , SAGE Publications Inc.
Background: Fibroblast growth factor (FGF)–2 has the potential to enhance tendon-to-bone healing after rotator cuff (RC) injury. Hypothesis: FGF-2 stimulates tenogenic differentiation of progenitors to improve the biomechanical strength and histological appearance of repaired RCs in rats. Study Design: Controlled laboratory study. Methods: Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats (N = 156) underwent unilateral surgery to repair the supraspinatus tendon to insertion sites. The FGF-2-treated group (gelatin hydrogel containing 5 μg of FGF-2) and a control group (gelatin hydrogel only) were compared to investigate the effects of FGF-2 at 2, 4, 6, 8, and 12 weeks postoperatively. Biomechanical testing was performed at 6 and 12 weeks. Semiquantitative histological analysis and immunohistochemical analysis for the proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) were performed, and the expression of tendon-related markers, including Scleraxis (Scx) and Tenomodulin (Tnmd), was monitored by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and in situ hybridization. SRY-box containing gene 9 (Sox9) expression was monitored by RT-PCR and immunohistochemical analysis. At 2 and 4 weeks, immunohistochemical analysis for mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) markers was also performed. Results: The FGF-2-treated group demonstrated a significant improvement in mechanical strength at 6 and 12 weeks and significantly higher histological scores than the control group at ≥4 weeks. The average incidence of PCNA-positive cells was significantly higher at 2 and 4 weeks, and more cells expressing MSC markers were detected at the insertion site in the FGF-2-treated group. The expression level of Scx increased significantly in the FGF-2-treated group from 4 to 8 weeks, while the Tnmd level increased significantly from 4 to 12 weeks postoperatively. The localization of Tnmd overlapped with the locations of reparative tissues accompanying collagen fibers with an aligned orientation. Sox9 expression was significantly upregulated at 4 weeks in the FGF-2-treated group. Conclusion: FGF-2 promotes growth of the tenogenic progenitor cells, which participate in tendon-to-bone healing, resulting in biomechanical and histological improvement of the repaired RC. Clinical Relevance: These findings provide clues regarding the clinical development of regenerative repair strategies for RC injury.

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