The Presence of Proprioceptive Mechanoreceptors in the Remnants of the Ruptured ACL as a Possible Source of Re-Innervation of the ACL Autograft

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2001 Nov;9(6):364-8. doi: 10.1007/s001670100240. Epub 2001 Sep 7.


This study investigated the presence of neural mechanoreceptors in the remnants of the ruptured ACL as a possible source of reinnervation of the ACL autologous graft. The remainder of the torn ACL was selected for further histological investigation from 17 patients during ACL reconstruction 3 months to 3.5 years after injury. Perioperatively two types of ACL remnant were identified. Fifteen patients had portions of ACL adapted at the PCL. In all of these patients we found mechanoreceptors (I and II). In five patients we found mushroomlike remnants which included either none or small numbers of mechanoreceptors. Free neural ends were found in both patient groups. There was a significant difference between the groups in regard to the mean number of mechanoreceptors I and II per slice. In conclusion, in patients with an ACL remnant adapted to the PCL, mechanoreceptors exist even 3 years after injury. If we accept that restoration of proprioception is the result of reinnervation of the ACL, leaving the ACL remnants as a source, if this is surgically possible without risk of Cyclop's lesion, may be of potential benefit to the patient.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / innervation*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries*
  • Biopsy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / pathology*
  • Knee Injuries / surgery*
  • Male
  • Mechanoreceptors / pathology*
  • Posterior Cruciate Ligament / pathology
  • Proprioception / physiology
  • Rupture
  • Tissue Transplantation / methods
  • Transplantation, Autologous / methods