Different Frequency of Cyclic Tensile Strain Relates to Anabolic/Catabolic Conditions Consistent with Immunohistochemical Staining Intensity in Tenocytes.Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Feb 06; 21(3)IJ
Tenocytes are mechanosensitive cells intimately adapting their expression profile and hence, their phenotype to their respective mechanomilieu. The immunolocalization and expression intensity of tenogenic, anabolic and catabolic markers in tenocytes in response to in vitro mechanical loading have not been monitored by immunohistochemical staining (IHC). Thus, we investigated the association between IHC intensities, different stimulation frequencies, and tenogenic metabolism using a versatile mechanical stretcher. Primary tenocytes obtained from murine Achilles tendons were transferred to poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) elastomeric chamber. Chambers were cyclically stretched by 5% in uniaxial direction at a variation of tensile frequency (1 or 2 Hz) for 3 h. After stretching, cell physiology, IHC intensities of tendon-related markers, and protein level of the angiogenesis marker vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were evaluated. Cell proliferation in tenocytes stimulated with 1 Hz stretch was significantly higher than with 2 Hz or without stretch, while 2 Hz stretch induced significantly reduced cell viability and proliferation with microscopically detectable apoptotic cell changes. The amount of scleraxis translocated into the nuclei and tenomodulin immunoreactivity of tenocytes treated with stretch were significantly higher than of non-stretched cells. The collagen type-1 expression level in tenocytes stretched at 1 Hz was significantly higher than in those cultivated with 2 Hz or without stretching, whereas the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1 and MMP-13 immunoreactivities of cells stretched at 2 Hz were significantly higher than in those stimulated with 1 Hz or without stretching. The secreted VEGF-protein level of tenocytes stretched at 2 Hz was significantly higher than without stretching. Our IHC findings consistent with cell physiology suggest that appropriate stretching can reproduce in vitro short-term tenogenic anabolic/catabolic conditions and allow us to identify an anabolic stretching profile.