Structural and molecular characteristics of axons in the long head of the biceps tendon

Roland Blumer, Sandra Boesmueller, Bernhard Gesslbauer, Lena Hirtler, Daniel Bormann, Angel M Pastor, Johannes Streicher, Rainer Mittermayr

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The innervation of the long head of the biceps tendon (LHBT) is not sufficiently documented. This is a drawback since pathologies of the LHBT are a major source of shoulder pain. Thus, the study aimed to characterize structurally and molecularly nervous elements of the LHBT. The proximal part of 11 LHBTs was harvested intraoperatively. There were 8 female and 3 male specimens. Age ranged from 66 to 86 years. For structural analyses, nervous elements were viewed in the transmission electron microscope. For molecular characterization, we used general neuronal markers including antibodies against neurofilament and protein gene product 9.5 (PGP9.5) as well as specific neuronal markers including antibodies against myelin basic protein (MBP), calcitonin gene-related product (CGRP), substance P (SP), tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), and growth-associated protein 43 (GAP43). Anti-neurofilament and anti-PGP9.5 visualized the overall innervation. Anti-MBP visualized myelination, anti-CGRP and anti-SP nociceptive fibers, anti-TH sympathetic nerve fibers, and anti-GAP43 nerve fibers during development and regeneration. Immunolabeled sections were analyzed in the confocal laser scanning microscope. We show that the LHBT contains unmyelinated as well as myelinated nerve fibers which group in nerve fascicles and follow blood vessels. Manny myelinated and unmyelinated axons exhibit molecular features of nociceptive nerve fibers. Another subpopulation of unmyelinated axons exhibits molecular characteristics of sympathetic nerve fibers. Unmyelinated sympathetic fibers and unmyelinated nociceptive fibers express proteins that are found during development and regeneration. Present findings support the hypothesis that ingrowth of nociceptive fibers are the source of chronic tendon pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-57
Number of pages15
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Volume380
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Axons/metabolism
  • Female
  • Hamstring Tendons/anatomy & histology
  • Humans
  • Male

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