Age and Intrinsic Fitness Affect the Female Rotator Cuff Tendon Tissue Article (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • Thierbach, Manuela; Heyne, Estelle; Schwarzer, Michael; Koch, Lauren G; Britton, Steven L; Wildemann, Britt


  • The risk of the development of tendon disorders or ruptures increases with age, but it is unclear whether intrinsic fitness during lifetime might also affect tendon properties. To investigate this, a contrasting rat model of high-capacity runners (HCR with high intrinsic fitness) and low-capacity runners (LCR with low intrinsic fitness) was employed. Histological and molecular changes in rotator cuff (RC) tendons from 10 weeks old (young; HCR-10 and LCR-10) and 100 weeks old (old; HCR-100 and LCR-100) female rats were investigated. Age-dependent changes of RC tendons observed in HCR and LCR were increase of weight, decrease of tenocytes and RNA content, reduction of the wavy pattern of collagen and elastic fibers, repressed expression of , , , , and and reduction of the : and : ratio. The LCR rats showed less physical activity, increased body weight, signs of metabolic disease and a reduced life expectancy. Their RC tendons revealed increased weight (more than age-dependent) and enlargement of the tenocyte nuclei (consistent with degenerative tendons). Low intrinsic fitness led to repressed expression of a further nine genes (, , , , , , , , ) as well as the rise of the : and ratios (related to the lesser expression of and ). The intrinsic fitness influences the female RC tendons at least as much as age. Lower intrinsic fitness accelerates aging of RC tendons and leads to further impairment; this could result in decreased healing potential and elasticity and increased stiffness.

publication date

  • 2022

published in


  • 10