Platelet-rich plasma for muscle injuries: A systematic review of the basic science literature

World J Orthop. 2019 Jul 18;10(7):278-291. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v10.i7.278.


Background: Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is an increasingly used biologic adjunct for muscle injuries, as it is thought to expedite healing. Despite its widespread use, little is known regarding the mechanisms by which PRP produces its efficacious effects in some patients.

Aim: To clarify the effects of PRP on muscular pathologies at the cellular and tissue levels by evaluating the basic science literature.

Methods: A systematic review of PubMed/MEDLINE and EMBASE databases was performed using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines and checklist. Level III in vivo and in vitro studies examining PRP effects on muscles, myocytes and/or myoblasts were eligible for inclusion. Extracted data included PRP preparation methods and study results.

Results: Twenty-three studies were included (15 in vivo, 6 in vitro, 2 in vitro/in vivo). Only one reported a complete PRP cytology (platelets, and red and white blood cell counts). Five in vitro studies reported increased cellular proliferation, four reported increased gene expression, and three reported increased cellular differentiation. Five in vivo studies reported increased gene expression, three reported superior muscle regeneration, and seven reported improved histological quality of muscular tissue.

Conclusion: The basic science literature on the use of PRP in muscle pathology demonstrates that PRP treatment confers several potentially beneficial effects on healing in comparison to controls. Future research is needed to determine optimal cytology, dosing, timing, and delivery methods of PRP for muscle pathologies.

Keywords: Basic science; Injury; Muscle; Musculoskeletal; Platelet rich plasma.