Equine tendonitis therapy using mesenchymal stem cells and platelet concentrates: A randomized controlled trial
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Introduction. Tendon injury is a major cause of lameness and decreased performance in athletic equines. Various therapies for tendonitis have been described; however, none of these therapies results in complete tissue regeneration, and the injury recurrence rate is high even after long recovery periods involving rest and physiotherapy. Methods. A lesion was induced with collagenase gel in the superficial digital flexor tendon in the center portion of the metacarpal region of eight equines of mixed breed. After two weeks, the lesions of the animals in the treated and control groups were treated through the intralesional administration of mesenchymal stem cells derived from adipose tissue (adMSCs) suspended in platelet concentrate (PC) and with phosphate buffered saline (PBS), respectively. Serial ultrasound analyses were performed every two weeks. After 16 weeks of therapy, a biopsy was performed for histopathological, immunohistochemical and gene expression (type I collagen (COL1A1), type III collagen (COL3A1), tenascin-C (TNC), tenomodulin (TNMD), and scleraxis (SCX)) analyses. Results: Differences in the ultrasound and histopathological analyses were observed between the groups. Improved results were reported in the group treated with adMSCs suspended in PC. There was no difference in the gene expression levels observed after the different treatments. The main results observed from the histopathological evaluation of the treated group were as follows: a prevention of the progression of the lesion, a greater organization of collagen fibers, and a decreased inflammatory infiltrate. A lack of progression of the lesion area and its percentage was observed in the ultrasound image, and increased blood flow was measured by Power Doppler. Conclusions: The use of adMSCs combined with PC for the therapy of experimentally induced tendonitis prevented the progression of the tendon lesion, as observed in the ultrasound examination, and resulted in a greater organization and decreased inflammation, as observed in the histopathological evaluation. These data demonstrate the therapeutic potential of this therapy for the treatment of equine tendonitis. © 2013 Carvalho et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
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