Tendon injuries are notorious for their slow and functionally inferior healing. Intratendinous application of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has been reported to stimulate the repair process of tendon injuries, but there is little conclusive evidence for its effectiveness. A placebo-controlled experimental trial was performed to test the hypothesis that a single intratendinous PRP treatment enhances the quality of tendon repair, as evidenced by improved biochemical, biomechanical, and histological tissue properties. In six horses, tendon lesions were created surgically in the Superficial Digital Flexor Tendons (SDFT) of both front limbs, one of which was treated with PRP and the other with saline. After 24 weeks, the tendons were harvested for biochemical, biomechanical, and histological evaluations. Collagen, glycosaminoglycan, and DNA content (cellularity) was higher in PRP-treated tendons (p = 0.039, 0.038, and 0.034, respectively). The repair tissue in the PRP group showed a higher strength at failure (p = 0.021) and Elastic Modulus (p = 0.019). Histologically, PRP-treated tendons featured better organization of the collagen network (p = 0.031) and signs of increased metabolic activity (p = 0.031). It was concluded that PRP increases metabolic activity and seems to advance maturation of repair tissue over nontreated experimentally induced tendon lesions, which suggests that PRP might be beneficial in the treatment of clinical tendon injuries.
(c) 2009 Orthopaedic Research Society.