Molecular studies in flexor tendon wound healing: The role of basic fibroblast growth factor gene expression
Fibroblast Growth Factor 2
Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) is a cytokine that plays a fundamental role in angiogenesis. This study examines bFGF messenger RNA (mRNA) expression in a rabbit flexor tendon wound healing model. Thirty-four New Zealand white rabbit forepaws underwent transection and repair of the middle digit flexor digitorum profundus tendon in zone II. Tendons were harvested at increasing time intervals and analyzed by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. Few tenocytes and tendon sheath cells expressed bFGF mRNA in unwounded tendons. In contrast, tendons subjected to transection and repair exhibited an increased signal for bFGF mRNA in both resident tenocytes concentrated along the epitenon and infiltrating fibroblasts and inflammatory cells from the tendon sheath. These data demonstrate that (1) normal tenocytes and tendon sheath cells are capable of bFGF production, (2) bFGF mRNA is upregulated in the tendon wound environment, and (3) the upregulation of this angiogenic cytokine occurs in tenocytes as well as in tendon sheath fibroblasts and inflammatory cells.