The aim of this study was to clarify vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression and angiogenesis in the patellar tendon (PT) autograft in the early phase after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction using a rabbit model. The right knees of 30 Japanese white rabbits underwent ACL reconstruction using the medial third of the PT complex. We evaluated the grafted tendon at 1, 2, 3, 4, and 8 weeks after ACL reconstruction by immunohistology for proliferating cell nuclear antigen, VEGF, and CD31, which is a marker for vascular endothelial cells. At week 1 , few cells were observed at the midsubstance of the grafted tendon. A number of proliferating cells were observed at the surface area of the PT graft 2 weeks after graft transplantation, while no vessel formation was observed in the graft at the same time. VEGF was highly expressed 2-3 weeks postoperatively. Vessel formation in the PT graft increased with time from 3 to 8 weeks after ACL reconstruction. The rates of proliferating cells and VEGF-expressing cells decreased with time from 3 to 8 weeks. This study has suggested that VEGF is involved in the graft remodeling process particularly at the early phase after ACL reconstruction.
- Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction
- Patellar tendon
- Tendon graft
- Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine