The role of transforming growth factor beta isoforms in tendon-to-bone healing

H. Mike Kim, Leesa M. Galatz, Rosalina Das, Necat Havlioglu, Stefan Y. Rothermich, Stavros Thomopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine the role of two of the three transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) isoforms at the healing tendon-to-bone insertion. The supraspinatus tendons of 64 rats were transected at their bony insertions and repaired to the humeral head. One shoulder of each rat received an osmotic pump for sustained delivery of the following factors at the repair site: (1) TGF-β1 and neutralizing antibodies to TGF-β2 and 3 (TGF-β1 group), (2) TGF-β3 and neutralizing antibodies to TGF-β1 and 2 (TGF-β3 group), (3) neutralizing antibodies to TGF-β1, 2, and 3 (anti-TGF-β group), and (4) saline (saline group). The contralateral shoulders received saline to serve as paired controls. The repairs were evaluated at multiple time points postmortem using histology-based assays and biomechanical testing. Treated shoulders in the TGF-β1 group showed increased type III collagen production compared to the paired control shoulders, indicative of a scar-mediated response. There was a trend toward reduced mechanical properties in the TGF-β1 group, but these changes did not reach statistical significance. The anti-TGF-β group showed no difference in tissue volume, but significantly inferior mechanical properties, compared to the paired control shoulders. The TGF-β3 group did not show any differences compared to the paired control shoulders. Although TGF-β isoforms play important roles in tendon-to-bone development and healing, application of exogenous TGF-β isoforms and neutralizing antibodies to the subacromial space using osmotic pumps did not improve supraspinatus tendon-to-bone healing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-98
Number of pages12
JournalConnective Tissue Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Rheumatology
  • Biochemistry
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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