In vivo investigation of ECRB tendons with microdialysis technique--no signs of inflammation but high amounts of glutamate in tennis elbow

Acta Orthop Scand. 2000 Oct;71(5):475-9. doi: 10.1080/000164700317381162.


We used the microdialysis technique to study concentrations of substances in the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) tendon in patients with tennis elbow. In 4 patients (mean age 41 years, 3 men) with a long duration of localized pain at the ECRB muscle origin, and in 4 controls (mean age 36 years, 2 men) with no history of elbow pain, a standard microdialysis catheter was inserted into the ECRB tendon under local anesthesia. The local concentrations of the neurotransmitter glutamate and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) were recorded under resting conditions. Samplings were done every 15 minutes during a 2-hour period. We found higher mean concentrations of glutamate in ECRB tendons from patients with tennis elbow than in tendons from controls (215 vs. 69 micromoL/L, p < 0.001). There were no significant differences in the mean concentrations of PGE2 (74 vs. 86 pg/mL). In conclusion, in situ microdialysis can be used to study certain metabolic events in the ECRB tendon of the elbow. Our findings indicate involvement of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate, but no biochemical signs of inflammation (normal PGE2 levels) in ECRB tendons from patients with tennis elbow.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dinoprostone / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microdialysis*
  • Middle Aged
  • Tendons / chemistry*
  • Tennis Elbow / metabolism*


  • Glutamic Acid
  • Dinoprostone