Cytokine and growth factor delivery from implanted platelet-rich fibrin enhances rabbit achilles tendon healing

Chin Chean Wong, Yu Min Huang, Chih Hwa Chen, Feng Huei Lin, Yi Yen Yeh, Meng Yi Bai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

26 Scopus citations


Tendons are hypocellular and hypovascular tissues, and thus, their natural healing capacity is low. In this study, we sought to evaluate the efficacy of platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) to serve as a bioactive scaffold in promoting the healing of rabbit Achilles tendon injury. For in vitro study, the essence portion of PRF was determined through bioluminescent assay. Furthermore, we analyzed the time-sequential cytokines-release kinetics of PRF and evaluated their effects on tenocytes proliferation and tenogenic gene expressions. In animal study, the rabbit Achilles tendon defect was left untreated or implanted with normal/heat-denatured PRF scaffolds. Six weeks postoperatively, the specimens were evaluated through sonographic imaging and histological analysis. The results revealed significantly more activated platelets on bottom half of the PRF scaffold. Cytokine concentrations released from PRF could be detected from the first hour to six days. For the in vitro study, PRF enhanced cell viability and collagen I, collagen III, tenomodulin, and tenascin gene expression compared to the standard culture medium. For in vivo study, sonographic images revealed significantly better tendon healing in the PRF group in terms of tissue echogenicity and homogeneity. The histological analysis showed that the healing tissues in the PRF group had more organized collagen fiber, less vascularity, and minimal cartilage formation. In conclusion, bioactive PRF promotes in vitro tenocytes viability and tenogenic phenotypic differentiation. Administration of a PRF scaffold at the tendon defect promotes tissue healing as evidenced by imaging and histological outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3221
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - 02 05 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Achilles tendon
  • Cytokine-delivery
  • Healing
  • Implantation
  • Platelet-rich fibrin


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