Objective: To determine whether injection of substance P into the paratendinous region of a ruptured and subsequently sutured rat Achilles' tendon alters the biomechanic properties of the tendon.
Design: Interventional animal study.
Setting: Animal laboratory at a university hospital.
Animals: Ninety-six 2-month-old, male Sprague-Dawley rats.
Intervention: Injection of saline, substance P (10(-6)micromol/kg of body weight [BW] or 10(-8)micromol/kg BW) associated with neutral endopeptidase inhibitors, or neutral endopeptidase inhibitors alone into the paratendinous region of ruptured and subsequently sutured rat Achilles' tendons from the second until the sixth day postoperatively.
Main outcome measures: Stress at maximal load and work to maximal load and stiffness.
Results: Stress at maximal load was higher in the groups injected with substance P than in the saline group in the first, second, and sixth weeks. Work to maximal load was higher from the second until the sixth weeks in the substance P-treated groups than in the saline group. Stiffness did not differ between the 4 groups in any of the weeks.
Conclusions: Injection of substance P into the paratendinous region of ruptured and subsequently sutured rat Achilles' tendons improved tendon healing by enhancing stress at maximal load and work to maximal load. However, stiffness was not significantly affected.