Background: The promotion of the healing process following musculoskeletal injuries comprises growth factor signalling, migration, proliferation and apoptosis of cells. If these processes could be modulated, the healing of tendon tissue may be markedly enhanced. Here, we report the use of the Somagen™ device, which is certified for medical use according to European laws. It generates low-frequency pulsed electromagnetic fields that trigger effects of a nature that are yet to be determined.
Methods: A 1.5-cm wide, linear scrape was introduced into patellar tendon fibroblast cultures (N = 5 donors). Treatment was carried out every second day. The regimen was applied three times in total with 30 minutes comprising pulsed electromagnetic field packages with two fundamental frequencies (10 minutes of 33 Hz, 20 minutes of 7.8 Hz). Control cells remained untreated. All samples were analyzed for gap closure time, proliferation and apoptosis one week after induction of the scrape wound.
Results: The mean time for bridging the gap in the nontreated cells was 5.05 ± 0.33 days, and in treated cells, it took 3.35 ± 0.38 days (P <0.001). For cell cultures with scrape wounds, a mean value for BrdU incorporation of OD = 0.70 ± 0.16 was found. Whereas low-frequency pulsed electromagnetic fields treated samples showed OD = 1.58 ± 0.24 (P <0.001). However, the percentage of apoptotic cells did not differ between the two groups.
Conclusions: Our data demonstrate that low-frequency pulsed electromagnetic fields emitted by the Somagen™ device influences the in vitro wound healing of patellar tendon fibroblasts and, therefore, possibly increases wound healing potential.