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Open Access Research article

Uphill treadmill running does not induce histopathological changes in the rat Achilles tendon

Rachel C Dirks12, Jeffrey S Richard13, Angela M Fearon45, Alexander Scott45, Lauren G Koch6, Steven L Britton6 and Stuart J Warden123*

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Translational Musculoskeletal Research, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN, USA

2 Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA

3 Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Indiana University, 1140 W. Michigan St., CF-326, Indianapolis, IN, 46202, USA

4 Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, Vancouver Coastal Health and Research Institute, Vancouver, BC, Canada

5 Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

6 Department of Anesthesiology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2013, 14:90  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-90

Published: 11 March 2013

Abstract

Background

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether uphill treadmill running in rats created histopathological changes within the Achilles tendon consistent with Achilles tendinosis in humans.

Methods

Twenty-six mature rats selectively bred for high-capacity running were divided into run and cage control groups. Run group rats ran on a treadmill at a 15° incline for a maximum duration of 1 hr/d, 5 d/wk for 9 weeks at increasing speeds, while rats in the cage control group maintained normal cage activity. After 9 weeks, Achilles tendons were harvested for histological processing and semi-quantitative histopathological analysis.

Results

There were no significant group differences within each of the individual histopathological categories assessed (all p ≥ 0.16) or for total histopathological score (p = 0.14).

Conclusions

Uphill treadmill running in rats selectively bred for high-capacity running did not generate Achilles tendon changes consistent with the histopathological presentation of Achilles tendinosis in humans.

Keywords:
Animal model; Tendinitis; Tendinopathy; Tendinosis; Overuse