The innervation pattern of the human Achilles tendon: studies of the normal and tendinosis tendon with markers for general and sensory innervation
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Pain-free normal Achilles tendons and chronic painful Achilles tendons were examined by the use of antibodies against a general nerve marker (protein gene-product 9.5, PGP9.5), sensory markers (substance P, SP; calcitonin gene-related peptide, CGRP), and immunohistochemistry. In the normal tendons, immunoreactions against PGP9.5 and against SP/CGRP were encountered in the paratendinous loose connective tissue, being confined to nerve fascicles and to nerve fibers located in the vicinity of blood vessels. To some extent, these immunoreactions also occurred in the tendon tissue proper. Immunoreaction against PGP9.5 and against SP/CGRP was also observed in the tendinosis samples and included immunoreactive nerve fibers that were intimately associated with small blood vessels. In conclusion, Mechanoreceptors (sensory corpuscles) were occasionally observed, nerve-related components are present in association with blood vessels in both the normal and the tendinosis tendon.
KeywordsAchilles tendon Innervation Tendinosis Neuropeptides Human
The authors wish to thank Ulla Hedlund and Lena Jonsson for excellent technical services. Financial support was obtained from the Faculty of Medicine and Odontology, Umeå University and the Swedish National Centre for Research in Sports.
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