Tendon healing in vivo: An experimental model

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Flexor tendon segments were incubated in a diffusion chamber in the subcutis of rabbits. Tendons incubated up to 6 weeks in the diffusion chamber showed proliferating and migrating cells from the epitenon cell layer as well as viable endotenon cells. Explants frozen in liquid nitrogen prior to incubation showed no signs of extrinsic cell contamination and remained non-viable indicating that no cell penetration occurred through the Millipore filter and that cell division seen in non-frozen and incubated tendons was an expression of intrinsic cellular proliferative capacity of the tendon. In tendon segments incubated in chambers for three weeks, collagen synthesis was reduced by 50% and the rate of cell proliferation measured as 3H-thymidine incorporation, was 15 times that of native tendons. Frozen and incubated tendons showed only traces of remaining matrix synthesis or cell proliferation. With this experimental model we have histologically and biochemically shown that tendons may survive and heal while the nutrition exclusively could be based on diffusion and the tendons have an intrinsic capacity of healing. The described model enables further studies on tendon healing and its regulation.


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Orthopedics
  • Surgery


  • Cell proliferation, Chamber, Collagen, Tendon healing
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-205
Number of pages7
JournalScandinavian Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Hand Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1989
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes