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The vasculature and its role in the damaged and healing tendon

Steven A Fenwick1*, Brian L Hazleman2 and Graham P Riley2

Author Affiliations

1 AstraZeneca, Macclesfield, Cheshire, UK

2 Rheumatology Research Unit, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, UK

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Arthritis Res 2002, 4:252-260  doi:10.1186/ar416

Published: 13 February 2002


Tendon pathology has many manifestations, from spontaneous rupture to chronic tendinitis or tendinosis; the etiology and pathology of each are very different, and poorly understood. Tendon is a comparatively poorly vascularised tissue that relies heavily upon synovial fluid diffusion to provide nutrition. During tendon injury, as with damage to any tissue, there is a requirement for cell infiltration from the blood system to provide the necessary reparative factors for tissue healing. We describe in this review the response of the vasculature to tendon damage in a number of forms, and how and when the revascularisation or neovascularisation process occurs. We also include a section on the revascularisation of tendon during its use as a tendon graft in both ligament reconstruction and tendon–tendon grafting.

tendinopathy; tendon grafts; tendon repair; tendon rupture; tendon vascularisation