Role of pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) on tenocytes and myoblasts-potential application for treating rotator cuff tears

J Orthop Res. 2017 May;35(5):956-964. doi: 10.1002/jor.23278. Epub 2017 Apr 7.


The post-surgery integrity of the tendons and muscle quality are the two major factors in success of rotator cuff (RC) repair. Though surgical techniques for rotator cuff repair have significantly improved in the past two decades, there are no effective treatments to improve tendon-to-bone healing and muscle quality after repair at this point in time. Pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) have previously been used for promoting fracture healing. Previous studies have shown that PEMF has a positive role in promoting osteoblast precursors proliferation and differentiation. However, PEMFs effect on tenocytes and muscle cells has not been determined fully yet. The purpose of this study is to define the role of a commercially available PEMF on tenocytes and myoblasts growth and differentiation in vitro. Human rotator cuff tenocytes and C2C12 murine myoblasts were cultured and treated with PEMF for 2 weeks under regular and inflammatory conditions. Our results showed that 2 weeks treatment of PEMF enhanced gene expressions of growth factors in human rotator cuff tenocytes under inflammatory conditions. PEMF significantly enhanced C2C12 myotube formation under normal and inflammatory conditions. Results from this study suggest that PEMF has a positive role in promoting tenocyte gene expression and myoblast differentiation. Therefore, PEMF may potentially serve as a non-operative treatment to improve clinical incomes rotator cuff tendon repairs. Results © 2017 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 35:956-964, 2017.

Keywords: PEMF; rotator cuff tear; tenocyte myoblast.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Field Therapy*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Myoblasts / metabolism
  • Myoblasts / radiation effects*
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries / therapy*
  • Tenocytes / metabolism
  • Tenocytes / radiation effects*
  • Young Adult