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Blood Transfus. 2014 Jan;12 Suppl 1:s221-8. doi: 10.2450/2013.0275-12. Epub 2013 Jun 19.

Experimental model for the study of the effects of platelet-rich plasma on the early phases of muscle healing.

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Department of Health Sciences, University of Rome "Foro Italico", Rome, Italy.
Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.



There is abundant evidence suggesting that growth factors may play a key role in the healing process, especially in the early stages of inflammation. Despite the reported clinical successes with the use of growth factors there is still a lack of knowledge on the biological mechanism underlying the activity of platelet-rich plasma during the process of muscle healing. The aim of this study was to analyse the early effects of platelet- rich plasma in an easily reproducible animal model.


Wistar male adult rats (n=102) were used in this study. The muscle lesion was created with a scalpel in the flexor sublimis muscles. Platelet-rich plasma was applied immediately after surgery. Treated, untreated and contralateral muscles were analysed by morphological evaluation and western blot assay.


Leucocyte infiltration was significantly greater in muscles treated with platelet-rich plasma than in both untreated and contralateral muscles. The latter showed greater leucocyte infiltration when compared to the untreated muscles. Platelet-rich plasma treatment also modified the cellular composition of the leucocyte infiltration leading to increased expression of CD3, CD8, CD19 and CD68 and to decreased CD4 antigen expression in both platelet-rich plasma treated and contralateral muscles. Blood vessel density and blood vessel diameters were not statistically significantly different between the three groups analysed.


The results of this study showed that treatment with platelet-rich plasma magnified the physiological early inflammatory response following a muscle injury, modifying the pattern of cellular recruitment. Local platelet-rich plasma treatment may exert a direct or, more plausibly, indirect systemic effect on healing processes, at least in the earliest inflammatory phase.

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