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A pilot study on biomarkers for tendinopathy: lower levels of serum TNF-alpha and other cytokines in females but not males with Achilles tendinopathy
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences, Sports Medicine. Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB), Anatomy. University of Canberra Research Institute for Sport and Exercise (UCRISE); Discipline of Physiotherapy, University of Canberra.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation. Institute of Sport Exercise and Health, University College Hospital London.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB), Anatomy.
2016 (English)In: BMC Sports Science Medicine and Rehabilitation, ISSN 2052-1847, Vol. 8, 5Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Achilles tendinopathy is a painful musculoskeletal condition that is common among athletes, and which limits training capacity and competitive performance. The lack of biomarkers for tendinopathy limits research into risk factors and also the evaluation of new treatments. Cytokines and growth factors involved in regulating the response of tendon cells to mechanical load have potential as biomarkers for tendinopathy. Methods: This case-control study compared serum concentration of cytokines and growth factors (TNF-alpha, IL-1 beta, bFGF, PDFG-BB, IFN-gamma, VEGF) between individuals with chronic Achilles tendinopathy and controls. These were measured in fasting serum from 22 individuals with chronic Achilles tendinopathy and 10 healthy controls. Results were analysed in relation to gender and physical activity pattern. Results: TNF-alpha concentration was lower in the entire tendinopathy group compared with the entire control group; none of the other cytokines were significantly different. TNF-alpha levels were nevertheless highly correlated with the other cytokines measured, in most of the subgroups. Analysed by gender, TNF-alpha and PDGF-BB concentrations were lower in the female tendinopathy group but not the male tendinopathy group. A trend was seen for lower IL-1 beta in the female tendinopathy group. Physical activity was correlated with TNF-alpha, PDGF-BB and IL-1 beta to varying extents for control subgroups, but not for the female tendinopathy group. No correlations were seen with BMI or duration of symptoms. Conclusions: This pilot study indicates a lower level of TNF-alpha and PDGF-BB, and to some extent IL-1 beta among females, but not males, in the chronic phase of Achilles tendinopathy. It is suggested that future studies on tendinopathy biomarkers analyse male and female data separately. The lack of correlation between cytokine level and physical activity in the female tendinopathy group warrants further study.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 8, 5
Keyword [en]
Cytokines, Tumor necrosis factor alpha, Biomarkers, Musculoskeletal pain
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-129997DOI: 10.1186/s13102-016-0026-0ISI: 000386701500001PubMedID: 26925234OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-129997DiVA: diva2:1064379
Available from: 2017-01-12 Created: 2017-01-11 Last updated: 2017-01-12Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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More styles
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