Journal of Connective Tissue Research, 21 June 2018


Juan Paredes, David A. Shiovitz, Nelly Andarawis-Puri

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Purpose: Tendon tears are common injuries that heal with scar formation. Interestingly, MRL/MpJ mice heal without scar in several tissues, including tendon. Most hypotheses regarding scarless healing implicate the systemic environment. However, the tissue-specificity of this regenerative response and our previous findings showing regeneration of sub-rupture tendon injuries, which lack an overt systemic response, motivate a tissue-driven hypothesis. Our objective is to investigate the potential of the local tendon environment in driving scarless healing (1) by comparing the systemic response and the healing capacity associated with ear and tendon injuries in MRL/MpJ mice, and (2) by comparing intrinsic healing properties between MRL/MpJ and normal healer C57Bl/6 tendons. Methods: We examined the systemic inflammatory and local structural environments of ear and tendon punch injuries in MRL/MpJ and C57Bl/6 mice. Systemic differences were analyzed to assess effects of different injuries on the inflammatory response. Correlations were assessed between MRL/MpJ ear and tendon injuries to compare the extent of healing between regenerative tissues. Results: Analysis showed similarities between the systemic environment in MRL/MpJ post ear or tendon injuries. However, comparable inflammatory responses did not translate into analogous healing between tissues, suggesting that the systemic environment is not the driver of regeneration. Supporting the regenerative role of the local environment, healing MRL/MpJ tendons exhibited improved matrix and cell alignment and a distinct composition of growth factors and Hyaluronan from C57Bl/6. Conclusion: These findings support the tissue-driven hypothesis for MRL/MpJ tendon regeneration and motivate further investigation regarding specific roles of extracellular factors in scarless healing.