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The response of rabbit patellar tendons after autologous blood injection


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: January 2002 - Volume 34 - Issue 1 - p 70-73
BASIC SCIENCES: Original Investigations

TAYLOR, M. A., T. L. NORMAN, N. B. CLOVIS, and J. D. BLAHA. The response of rabbit patellar tendons after autologous blood injection. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 34, No. 1, 2002, pp. 70–73.

Purpose Blood is a rich source of growth factors that can stimulate fibrocyte migration and help induce neovascular ingrowth. These properties may be able to stimulate a healing response in chronic degeneration of a tendon (tendonosis). The purpose of this study was to assess the biomechanical and histological effects of autologous blood injection on animal tendons.

Methods New Zealand white rabbit left side patellar tendons were injected with 0.15 cc of autologous blood. We then compared the mechanical properties and histology to the normal right patellar tendon at 6 and 12 wk.

Results At 6 and 12 wk after the injection, there were no differences in the histology compared with normal tendon tissue, and there were no significant changes in tendon stiffness. Biomechanically, the tendons were not damaged at 6 wk after the injection. By 12 wk, tendons that were injected with blood were significantly (P < 0.014) stronger.

Conclusion We found that injecting blood directly into normal tendons appears safe. Further evaluation of this technique would appear indicated.

Musculoskeletal Research Center, Department of Orthopedics and Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506-9196

Submitted for publication December 2000.

Accepted for publication March 2001.

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.