Background: Autologous platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has been investigated as a potential promoter of tendon healing that affects the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) graft maturation process. However, the influence of PRP on revascularization and reinnervation during the ACL graft remodeling has never been investigated.
Materials and methods: We randomly assigned healthy and mature beagles to one of four groups. In group 1 (PRP group), we treated the ACL grafts with PRP. In group 2 (control group), we treated the ACL grafts with saline. In group 3 (sham group), we exposed only the knee joints. In group 4 (normal control group), no surgery was performed on the knees. We dissected the ligament tissue at 2, 6, and 12 wk after surgery and performed real-time polymerase chain reaction using primers for cluster of differentiation molecule 31, vascular endothelial growth factor, thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1), neurotrophin-3, growth-associated protein-43 (GAP-43), and nerve growth factor.
Results: We observed the increased expression of vascular endothelial growth factor, TSP-1, neurotrophin-3, GAP-43, and nerve growth factor mRNA in group 1 at 2, 6, and 12 wk after surgery, compared with that in group 2 (P < 0.05). We also detected increased levels of cluster of differentiation molecule 31 expression in group 1 (P < 0.05) at 2 and 6 wk after surgery. The levels of TSP-1 and GAP-43 mRNA were significantly increased in group 3 compared with those in group 4 at 2 wk after surgery (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: During graft remodeling, we observed a time-dependent change in gene expression after ACL reconstruction surgery. In addition, these results demonstrate that PRP alters the expression of some target genes at certain times, particularly during the early stages of graft remodeling. Platelet-rich plasma could promote revascularization and reinnervation, which might explain the enhancing effect of PRP on ACL graft maturation.
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