Background: Spinal ligament injury is often a comorbidity in spine fracture. Although the spinal ligament is important to maintain spinal stability, little is done to improve its healing after injury. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has been shown effective in treating many tendon and ligament disorders, but its role in spinal ligament injury remains to be evaluated.
Methods: Supraspinous ligament and interspinous ligament were cut in rabbits to simulate spinal ligament injury after spine fracture. After the injury, the administration of autologous PRP was performed and compared with saline injection control. Morphology and histological analysis were utilized to assess PRP effect and compare it to the saline control group. To understand potential molecular mechanisms of PRP on ligamentous healing, bioinfor-matics analysis of the microarray dataset (GSE70918) from the Gene Expression Omnibus database was conducted.
Results: The PRP group was more likely to have a better appearance both morphologically and histologically than did the saline control group. Pathway analysis determined that IL-17 signaling pathway and TNF signaling pathway were the two significantly induced signaling pathways in tendon fibroblasts treated by PRP. In the protein-protein interaction network analysis, interleukin 6 had the highest degrees of connectivity.
Conclusions: PRP improves spinal ligament healing through the activation of pathways related to inflammation. Further studies are required to determine the dosing and timing of PRP administration to achieve better longterm treatment outcome.