Purpose: The term tendinopathy describes non-ruptured tendon injuries. While several important studies have evaluated the aetiology, pathogenesis, and treatment of this common condition, further study is needed. Several animal models, which allow for full tissue evaluation on different organizational levels and stages of disease, have been used to investigate tendinopathy.
Method: A literature review was conducted to identify and evaluate animal models that have been developed and used to study the aetiology and pathology of tendinopathy.
Results: Animal models of tendinopathy fit into two general categories based on the mode of injury application: (i) models that induce tendinopathy through a change in the mechanical environment, and (ii) models that induce tendinopathy through a chemical agent. The cost, difficulty, invasiveness, reproducibility and time required to induce injury in these models varies. Mechanically-induced models are beneficial since they induce injury through repetitive mechanical loading, similar to how tendinopathy is believed to develop in the human condition. Chemically-induced models are beneficial by allowing for the study of the interplay among inflammatory cells, mechanical loading and tissue healing.
Conclusion: Further work is needed to fully characterize and understand tendinopathy. Appropriate animal models provide a greater understanding of human tendinopathy, leading to better prevention and treatment.