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Connect Tissue Res. 2013;54(1):62-9. doi: 10.3109/03008207.2012.734879. Epub 2012 Dec 3.

Immunolocalization of collagens (I and III) and cartilage oligomeric matrix protein in the normal and injured equine superficial digital flexor tendon.

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Division of Pathology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of Biomedicine & Veterinary Public Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala, Sweden.


This is a descriptive study of tendon pathology with different structural appearances of repair tissue correlated to immunolocalization of cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) and type I and III collagens and expression of COMP mRNA. The material consists of nine tendons from seven horses (5-25 years old; mean age of 10 years) with clinical tendinopathy and three normal tendons from horses (3, 3, and 13 years old) euthanized for non-orthopedic reasons. The injured tendons displayed different repair-tissue appearances with organized and disorganized fibroblastic regions as well as areas of necrosis. The normal tendons presented distinct immunoreactivity for COMP and expression of COMP mRNA and type I collagen in the normal aligned fiber structures, but no immunolabeling of type III collagen. However, immunoreactivity for type III collagen was present in the endotenon surrounding the fiber bundles, where no expression of COMP could be seen. Immunostaining for type I and III collagens was present in all of the pathologic regions indicating repair tissue. Interestingly, the granulation tissues showed immunostaining for COMP and expression of COMP mRNA, indicating a role for COMP in repair and remodeling of the tendon after fiber degeneration and rupture. The present results suggest that not only type III collagen but also COMP is involved in the repair and remodeling processes of the tendon.

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