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J Hand Surg Am. 1997 Sep;22(5):818-25.

Tendon repair--cellular activities in rabbit deep flexor tendons and surrounding synovial sheaths and the effects of hyaluronan: an experimental study in vivo and in vitro.

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  • 1Department of Hand and Plastic Surgery, Uppsala University Hospital, Sweden.


One deep flexor tendon and its surrounding sheath of each hindpaw of 48 rabbits were transected and repaired in order to investigate the abilities of rabbit flexor tendons and synovial sheaths to synthesize DNA and matrix components during healing and to study the effects of hyaluronan (HA). After repair, HA or saline was injected between the tendon and the sheath. Short-term culture and labeling in vitro were used up to 6 weeks after surgery to determine synthesis of DNA, proteoglycan, collagen, and noncollagen protein. Within tendon repair sites, the rate of cell proliferation increased and reached a maximum 5 days after surgery; within repaired synovial sheaths, the rate immediately decreased. In the healing tendons, the rate of collagen synthesis decreased and the rate of noncollagen protein synthesis remained unchanged. The opposite results were found within the healing synovial sheaths. HA did not affect the rate of cell proliferation or matrix synthesis in healing tendons or surrounding sheaths. These results show that cellular activities differ between tendons and synovial sheaths during healing and that those activities may not be affected by HA.

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