Glutamate NMDAR1 receptors localised to nerves in human Achilles tendons. Implications for treatment?

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2001;9(2):123-6. doi: 10.1007/s001670000188.


In this investigation, we show the presence of both free glutamate (microdialysis) and glutamate NMDAR1 receptors (immunohistochemical analyses of tendon biopsies), in tendons from patients with chronic Achilles tendon pain (Achilles tendinosis) and in controls (pain-free tendons). The NMDAR1 immunoreaction was usually confined to acetylcholinesterase-positive structures, implying that the reaction is present in nerves. Glutamate is a potent pain mediator in the human central nervous system, and in animals it has been shown that peripherally administered glutamate NMDA receptor antagonists diminish the response to formalin-induced nociception. Our present finding of glutamate NMDA receptors in human Achilles tendons might have implications for pain treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / metabolism*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Microdialysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism*
  • Tendinopathy / metabolism*
  • Tendinopathy / therapy


  • NMDA receptor A1
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate