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Nestin and osteocrin mRNA increases in human semitendinosus myotendinous junction 7 days after a single bout of eccentric exercise


The myotendinous junction (MTJ), a specialized interface for force transmission between muscle and tendon, has a unique transcriptional activity and is highly susceptible to muscle strain injury. Eccentric exercise training is known to reduce this risk of injury, but knowledge of the influence of exercise on the MTJ at the molecular and cellular levels is limited. In this study, 30 subjects were randomized to a single bout of eccentric exercise 1 week prior to tissue sampling (exercised) or no exercise (control). Samples were collected from the semitendinosus as part of reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament and divided into fractions containing muscle, MTJ and tendon, respectively. The concentrations of macrophages and satellite cells were counted, and the expression of genes previously known to be active at the MTJ were analyzed by real-time–quantitative PCR. An effect of the single bout of exercise was found on the expression of nestin (NES) and osteocrin (OSTN) mRNA in the MTJ and tendon fractions. Genes earlier identified at the MTJ (COL22A1, POSTN, ADAMTS8, MNS1, NCAM1) were confirmed to be expressed at a significantly higher level in the MTJ compared to muscle and tendon but were unaffected by exercise. In the exercise group a higher concentration of macrophages, but not of satellite cells, was seen in muscle close to the MTJ. The expression of NES and OSTN was higher in human semitendinosus MTJ 1 week after a single session of heavy eccentric exercise. Based on these results, NES and OSTN could have a part in explaining how the MTJ adapts to eccentric exercise.

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We would like to thank Manuel Koch and Thomas Imhof for providing the collagen XXII antibody.


We would like to thank The Lundbeck Foundation, Danish Medical Research Council, The Nordea Foundation (Healthy Aging Grant), Aase and Ejnar Danielsen’s Fund, IOC Research Centre for Sports Medicine Copenhagen and Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg for financial support.

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Correspondence to Jens R. Jakobsen.

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The study was approved by The Research Ethics Committees of the Capital Region of Denmark (ref. H-18022988) and performed according to the standards set by the Declaration of Helsinki of 1964 and its later amendments.

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All participants gave their written consent before participating in the study after being given thorough information about the project.

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Both the Section for Sports Traumatology M51 and the Institute of Sports Medicine, Copenhagen University Hospital at Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg, are part of the IOC Research Center Copenhagen.

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Jakobsen, J.R., Schjerling, P., Kjær, M. et al. Nestin and osteocrin mRNA increases in human semitendinosus myotendinous junction 7 days after a single bout of eccentric exercise. Histochem Cell Biol 158, 49–64 (2022).

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  • Myotendinous junction
  • Eccentric exercise
  • Nordic hamstring
  • Skeletal muscle
  • mRNA