Platelet-rich plasma in tendon models: a systematic review of basic science literature

Arthroscopy. 2013 Mar;29(3):596-607. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2012.10.025. Epub 2013 Jan 24.


Purpose: To perform a systematic review of the basic science literature on the use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) in tendon models.

Methods: We searched the PubMed/Medline and Embase databases in June 2012 using the following parameters: ((tenocytes OR tendon OR tendinitis OR tendinosis OR tendinopathy) AND (platelet rich plasma OR PRP OR autologous conditioned plasma OR ACP)). The inclusion criteria for full-text review were in vivo and in vitro studies examining the effects of PRP on tendons and/or tenocytes. Clinical studies were excluded. Only studies published in peer-reviewed journals that compared PRP directly with a control were included. Data were extracted based on a predefined data sheet, which included information on PRP preparation, study methods, and results. Studies were analyzed for trends, comparing and contrasting the reported effects of PRP.

Results: The search yielded 31 articles for inclusion in our review. Of the studies, 22 (71%) reported platelet concentrations in the PRP; 6 (19%) reported cytology. Eight in vivo studies found decreased tendon repair time, increased fiber organization, or both with PRP treatment. Eight in vitro studies reported that PRP treatment increased cell proliferation; 7 reported an increase in growth factor expression. Three in vivo studies found increased vascularity, and 4 found increased tensile strength with PRP treatment.

Conclusions: In the basic science studies evaluated, it appears that PRP confers several potential effects on tendon models compared with a control. However, the literature is inconsistent with regard to reporting the methods of preparation of PRP and in reporting platelet concentrations and cytology.

Clinical relevance: Establishing proof of concept for PRP may lead to further high-quality clinical studies in which the appropriate indications can be defined.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma / physiology*
  • Tendon Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Tendon Injuries / therapy*
  • Tendons / physiology
  • Tendons / physiopathology
  • Wound Healing / physiology*