Vascular NK-1 receptor occurrence in normal and chronic painful Achilles and patellar tendons: studies on chemically unfixed as well as fixed specimens

Regul Pept. 2005 Mar 30;126(3):173-81. doi: 10.1016/j.regpep.2004.09.008.


It is not known as to whether the Achilles and patellar tendons contain neurokinin-1 (NK-1) receptors. This is a drawback when considering the fact that pain symptoms are frequent in these and as recent studies show that the pain symptoms might be cured via interference with blood vessel function. In the present study, the human Achilles and patellar tendons were examined concerning immunohistochemical expression of the NK-1 receptor. Chemically unfixed and fixed specimens, TRITC and PAP stainings and a battery of NK-1 receptor antibodies, including antibodies against the C-terminus and the N-terminal region, were utilized. NK-1 receptor immunoreaction could be detected in inner parts of the walls of large blood vessels and in the walls of small blood vessels. To some extent, NK-1 immunoreaction was also detectable in small nerve fascicles and in tenocytes. It was found to be of utmost importance to apply both chemically unfixed and fixed specimens. The use of chemically unfixed tissue was found advantageous in order to depict the immunoreactions in the blood vessel walls. The observations represent new findings and are of relevance as substance P (SP) is known to be of importance where neurogenic angiogenesis contributes to diseases and as SP on the whole has profound effects concerning blood vessel regulation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / blood supply
  • Achilles Tendon / innervation
  • Achilles Tendon / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Female
  • Fixatives
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Freezing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patella
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-1 / biosynthesis*
  • Rhodamines
  • Staining and Labeling / methods
  • Tendinopathy / metabolism*
  • Tendons / blood supply*
  • Tendons / innervation
  • Tendons / metabolism*


  • Fixatives
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-1
  • Rhodamines
  • tetramethylrhodamine isothiocyanate