The shift in macrophages polarisation after tendon injury: A systematic review

Hong Tao Xu, Chien Wei Lee, Ming Yan Li, Yu Fan Wang, Patrick Shu Hang Yung, Oscar Kuang Sheng Lee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The role of macrophages (Mφs) in tendon injury healing is controversy. The aims of this study were to determine whether there is a shift in Mφs polarisation after an acute and chronic tendon injury ​and to assess whether the Mφs polarisation between the partial and complete rupture is different. Methods: This systematic review of the scientific literature was based on the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) and Cochrane guidelines. PubMed database and Excerpta Medica Database (EMBASE) were used for specific search criteria. Only studies measuring Mφs using specific cell markers in Achilles tendon tissue and rotator cuff tendon tissue were included, respectively. Results: Five Achilles tendon injury studies and four rotator cuff injury studies were included. Expression of the pan Mϕs marker Cluster of Differentiation (CD) 68 was significantly upregulated in acute Achilles tendon ruptures compared to intact tendons, while no significant changes were found in Mφs polarisation markers CD80 (M1 Mφs) and CD206 (M2 Mφs). High levels of CD86 (M1 Mφs) and CD206 were observed in acute partial rupture. Expression of CD68 and CD206 were significantly upregulated in chronic rotator cuff tendinopathy and downregulated as structural failure increases. A low level of CD206 was observed in complete tendon rupture regardless of acute or chronic injury. Discussion and conclusion: In spite of the limited number of articles included, findings from this study suggested that the process of inflammation plays an important role in acute Achilles tendon injuries, indicated by the increased expression of CD68+ Mφs. Low levels of CD206+ Mφs were constantly observed in complete Achilles tendon rupture, while high levels of CD80+ Mφs and CD206+ Mφs were observed in partial Achilles tendon rupture, which suggested the potential correlation between M2 Mφs and tendon structure. For chronic rotator cuff injury, CD68+ Mφs and CD206+ Mφs were higher in tendinopathic tissues in comparison to the intact control tissues. Both CD68+ Mφs and CD206+ Mφs has an inverse relation to the structural failure in the torn rotator cuff tendon. After tendon rupture, the time point of biopsy specimen collection is an important factor, which could occur in the acute phase or chronic phase. Collectively, the understanding of the roles in Mφs after tendon injury is inadequate, and more research efforts should be devoted to this direction. The translational potential of this article: This article provided a potential implication on how pan Mφs or M2 Mφs might be associated with ruptured or torn tendon structure. Managing Mφs numbers and phenotypes may lead to possible novel therapeutic approaches to the management of early tendinopathy, early acute tendon rupture, hence, promote healing after restoration surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-34
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Translation
Volume21
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2020

Keywords

  • Achilles
  • Macrophages
  • Rotator cuff
  • Tendon

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