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The effect of electroacupuncture on tendon repair in a rat Achilles tendon rupture model
  1. Motohiro Inoue1,
  2. Miwa Nakajima1,
  3. Yuki Oi2,
  4. Tatsuya Hojo3,
  5. Megumi Itoi4,
  6. Hiroshi Kitakoji1
  1. 1Department of Clinical Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Meiji University of Integrative Medicine, Kyoto, Japan
  2. 2Department of Acupuncture, Takarazuka University of Medical and Health Care, Hyogo, Japan
  3. 3Faculty of Health and Sports Science, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan
  4. 4Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Meiji University of Integrative Medicine, Kyoto, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Motohiro Inoue, Department of Clinical Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Meiji University of Integrative Medicine, Honoda, Hiyoshi-cho, Nantan-city, Kyoto 629-0392, Japan; mo_inoue{at}meiji-u.ac.jp

Abstract

Objective To examine the effect of electroacupuncture (EA) on early post-rupture tendon repair in a rat model of Achilles tendon rupture using histological and mechanical evaluation.

Methods An Achilles tendon rupture model was prepared in 90 Wistar rats, which were randomly assigned to EA, manual acupuncture or control groups. Rats in the EA group received EA (pulse width 5 ms; stimulation frequency 50 Hz; stimulation strength 20 μA; stimulation time 20 min) daily from 1 day following model preparation until the day of assessment (either 7 or 10 days after model preparation), when the region of interest was sampled to assess tendon repair using in vitro methods. Total cell count and the number of cells staining positive for transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) and basic fibroblast growth factor (b-FGF) were measured. Tension tests were performed 10 days after model preparation to measure the maximum breaking strength of the repaired tendon.

Results Both the total cell count and the number of cells positive for b-FGF were significantly higher in the EA group (p<0.05). In the EA group only, immunostaining showed strong expression of TGF-β1 7 days after model preparation (p<0.05). Maximum breaking strength of the repaired tendon 10 days after model preparation was significantly higher in the EA group (p<0.01).

Conclusions The marked increase in cell count and growth factor expression as well as increased tendon strength in the EA group suggest that EA may be a useful method for promoting tendon repair.

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