Circulation-derived cells play a crucial role in the healing processes of tissue. In early phases of tendon healing processes, circulation-derived cells temporarily exist in the wounded area to initiate the healing process and decrease in number with time. We assumed that a delay of time-dependent decrease in circulation-derived cells could improve the healing of tendons. In this study, we injected platelet-rich plasma (PRP) containing various kinds of growth factors into the wounded area of the patellar tendon, and compared the effects on activation of circulation-derived cells and enhancement of tendon healing with a control group (no PRP injection). To follow the circulation-derived cells, we used a green fluorescent protein (GFP) chimeric rat expressing GFP in the circulating cells and bone marrow cells. In the PRP group, the numbers of GFP-positive cells and heat-shock protein (HSP47; collagen-specific molecular chaperone)-positive cells were significantly higher than in the control group at 3 and 7 days after injury. At the same time, the immunoreactivity for types I and III collagen was higher in the PRP group than in the control group at early phase of tendon healing. These findings suggest that locally injected PRP is useful as an activator of circulation-derived cells for enhancement of the initial tendon healing process.
(c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.