The purpose of this study was to investigate tenocyte mechanobiology after sudden-detraining and to examine the hypothesis that repeated peri-patellar injections of hyaluronic acid (HA) on detrained patellar tendon (PT) may reduce and limit detrained-associated damage in tenoctyes. Twenty-four male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into three groups: Untrained, Trained and Detrained. In the Detrained rats, the left tendon was untreated while the right tendon received repeated peri-patellar injections of either HA or saline (NaCl). Tenocyte morphology, metabolism and synthesis of C-terminal-propeptide of type I collagen, collagen-III, fibronectin, aggrecan, tenascin-c, interleukin-1 beta, matrix-metalloproteinase-1 and-3 were evaluated after 1, 3, 7 and 10 days of culture. Transmission-electronic-microscopy showed a significant increase in mitochondria and rough endoplasmic reticulum in cultured tenocytes from Detrained-HA with respect to those from Detrained-NaCl. Additionally, Detrained-HA cultures showed a significantly higher proliferation rate and viability, and increased synthesis of C-terminal-Propeptide of type I collagen, fibronectin, aggrecan, tenascin-c and matrix-metalloproteinase-3 with respect to Detrained-NaCl ones, whereas synthesis of matrix-metalloproteinase-1 and interleukin-1 beta was decreased. Our study demonstrates that discontinuing training activity in the short-term alters tenocyte synthetic and metabolic activity and that repeated peri-patellar infiltrations of HA during detraining allow the maintenance of tenocyte anabolic activity.
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