Ligament heals in a synchronized and complex series of events. The remodeling process may last months or years. Experimental evidence suggests the damaged ligament does not recover its normal functional properties. Specific mechanisms to prevent scar formation and to regenerate the original mechanical function remain elusive but likely involve regulation of creeping substitution. Creeping substitution creates a larger hypercellular, hypervascular and disorganized granulation tissue mass that result in an inefficient and non-regenerative wound healing process for the ligament. Control of creeping substitution may limit the extent of this tissue compromise and reduce the time necessary for healing. The objective of this study is to better understand the mechanism behind scar formation by identifying the extracellular matrix factors and other unique genes of interest differentially expressed during rat ligament healing via microarray. For this study, rat medial collateral ligaments were either surgically transected or left intact. Ligaments were collected at day 3 or 7 post-injury and used for microarray, QPCR and/or immunohistochemistry. Results were compared with the normal intact ligament. We demonstrate that early ligament healing is characterized by the modulation of several inflammatory and extracellular matrix factors during the first week of injury. Specifically, a number of matrix metalloproteinases and collagens are differentially and significantly expressed during early ligament healing. Additionally, we demonstrate the modulation of three novel genes, periostin, collagen-triple helix repeat containing-1, and serine protease 35 in our ligament healing model. Together, control of granulation tissue creeping substitution and subsequent downstream scar formation is likely to involve these factors.
- Copyright © 2011, Journal of Applied Physiology