TNF-α and neurotrophins in Achilles tendinosis
Sammanfattning: Tenocytes are the principal cells of the human Achilles tendon. In tendinosis, changes in the metabolism and morphology of these cells occur. Neurotrophins are growth factors essential for the development of the nervous system. Tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) has been found to kill sarcomas but has destructive effects in several major diseases. The two systems have interaction effects and are associated with apoptosis, proliferation, and pain signalling in various diseases. Whether these systems are present in the Achilles tendon and in Achilles tendinosis is unknown. The hypothesis is that the tenocytes produce substances belonging to these systems. In Studies I–III, we show that the potent effects of these substances are also likely to occur in the Achilles tendon. We found tenocyte immunoreactions for the neurotrophins brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), the nerve growth factor (NGF), the neurotrophin receptor p75, and for TNF-α and both of its receptors, TNFR1 and TNFR2. This occurred in both subjects with painful mid-portion Achilles tendinosis, and in controls. Furthermore, we found mRNA expression for BDNF and TNF-α in tenocytes, which proves that these cells produce these substances. TNFR1 mRNA was also detected for the tenocytes, and TNFR1 immunoreactions were upregulated in tendinosis tendons. This might explain why tenocytes in tendinosis undergo apoptosis more often than in normal tendons. Total physical activity (TPA) level and blood concentration of both soluble TNFR1 and BDNF were measured in Study IV. The results showed that the blood concentration of both factors were similar in subjects with tendinosis and in controls. Nevertheless, the TPA level was related to the blood concentration of sTNFR1 in tendinosis, but not in controls. This relationship should be studied further. The findings of this doctoral thesis show that neurotrophin and TNF-α systems are expressed in the Achilles tendon. We believe that the functions include tissue remodelling, proliferation and apoptosis.
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