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Transiently increased insulin-like growth factor I immunoreactivity in tendons after vibration trauma. An immunohistochemical study on rats.

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Institute of Neurobiology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.


The hind limbs of anaesthetized rats were exposed to vibration trauma (81 Hz; amplitude peak to peak 0.50 mm) for 4 hours during 2 consecutive days. The animals were examined in groups of 4 immediately after the last exposure, and after 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 14 and 28 days. The Achilles tendons and the tendons of the anterior tibialis muscles were sampled and processed to demonstrate IGF-I immunoreactivity. In the normal Achilles tendon and in the tendon of the anterior tibial muscle, slight IGF-I immunoreactivity was seen in many of the long slender fibroblasts between the collagen bundles. A strong increase in the IGF-I immunoreactivity appeared in the anterior tibialis muscle tendon 3 days after the last vibration exposure. In addition, the tendon fibroblasts became hypertrophic. A similar but less striking increase in IGF-I immunoreactivity appeared in the Achilles tendon. The peak intensity and frequency of stained cells were achieved after 7 days for both tendons. The intensity then levelled off, and was normalized after 28 days. It is concluded that acute exposure to vibrations induces reactive changes in fibroblasts in tendons, which may reflect a change to a more active synthesising state, as a response to the vibration trauma. The transiently altered expression of IGF-I immunoreactivity forms a link in a chain of events regulating the functional activity level of fibroblasts in response to a trauma.

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