Comparison of the acute inflammatory response of two commercial platelet-rich plasma systems in healthy rabbit tendons

Am J Sports Med. 2012 Jun;40(6):1274-81. doi: 10.1177/0363546512442334. Epub 2012 Apr 10.


Background: Numerous studies have shown platelet-rich plasma (PRP) preparations differ with respect to the inclusion of certain blood components, which may affect the host's cellular response.

Hypothesis: This study evaluated the inflammatory effect of Biomet GPS III leukocyte-rich PRP (LR-PRP) versus MTF Cascade leukocyte-poor PRP (LP-PRP) after intratendinous injection in an animal model. The authors anticipated that LR-PRP would incite a greater acute inflammatory response than LP-PRP.

Study design: Controlled laboratory study.

Methods: A total of 17 skeletally mature New Zealand White rabbits were tested. In all cases, healthy patellar tendons were treated. In the control animals, one patellar tendon was injected with 2 mL autologous whole blood, and the other was injected with 2 mL sterile saline. Seven total tendons were injected with whole blood, and 7 tendons were injected with saline. In the experimental animals, one patellar tendon was injected with 2 mL LR-PRP, and the other was injected with 2 mL LP-PRP. Ten tendons were injected with LR-PRP, and 10 tendons were injected with LP-PRP. Animals were euthanized at 5 or 14 days after injection. Tendons were harvested and stained using hematoxylin and eosin and scored semi-quantitatively for total white blood cells (WBCs), mononuclear cells (macrophages and lymphocytes), polymorphonuclear cells (PMNs), vascularity, fiber structure, and fibrosis.

Results: At 5 days after injection, tendons treated with LR-PRP had significantly greater overall tendon scores (6.3 ± 1.79 vs 1.8 ± 1.64, P = .012), as well as mean scores for fiber structure (1.4 ± 0.22 vs 0.50 ± 0.50, P = .012), denoting disrupted composition, total WBCs (1.1 ± 0.89 vs 0.10 ± 0.22, P = .014), mononuclear cells (macrophages and lymphocytes) (0.80 ± 0.45 vs 0.10 ± 0.22, P = .014), vascularity (1.7 ± 0.27 vs 0.80 ± 0.16, P = .008), and fibrosis (1.0 ± 0.35 vs 0.3 ± 0.45, P = .037) compared with tendons treated with LP-PRP. Otherwise, there were no significant differences in mononuclear cells (P = .590), PMN cells (P = 1.00), total WBCs (P = .811), vascularity (P = .650), or total tendon score (P = .596) in any of the treatment groups at 14 days.

Conclusion: Compared with leukocyte-poor Cascade PRP, leukocyte-rich GPS III PRP causes a significantly greater acute inflammatory response at 5 days after injection. There is no significant difference in the inflammatory response or cellularity regardless of the injection type at 14 days after intratendinous injection.

Clinical relevance: Platelet-rich plasma injections are frequently prepared using commercial systems and are administered for clinical treatment of chronic tendinopathy. It is important to characterize the cellular responses elucidated by different injection preparations to further understand their effect on tissue healing and aid clinical decision making. Future investigations are necessary to apply these findings to the clinical setting.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Inflammation / therapy*
  • Leukocytes
  • Patellar Ligament / injuries*
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma*
  • Rabbits
  • Tendinopathy / therapy*