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Clin Sports Med. 2003 Oct;22(4):693-701.

Cell death and tendinopathy.

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  • 1Orthopaedic Research Institute, St. George Hospital Campus, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2217, Australia.


Apoptosis and necrosis are presently recognized as the two major types of physiological and pathological cell death. Apoptosis is a tightly regulated cell deletion process that differs morphologically and biochemically from necrotic cell death. Tendinopathy is defined as a tendon injury that originates from intrinsic and extrinsic etiological factors. Excessive apoptosis has recently been described in degenerative tendon. The increased number of apoptotic tendon cells in degenerative tendon tissue could affect the rate of collagen synthesis and repair. Impaired or dysfunctional protein synthesis may lead to weaker tendon tissue and eventually increase the risk for tendon rupture. Clearly, there are many details to insert into this pathway, but there is hope that if the fine details of the pathway can be fleshed out, then strategies may be able to be developed to break the cycle at one or more points and prevent or treat tendinopathy more effectively.

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