We studied bone-tendon healing using immunohistochemical methods in a rabbit model.
Reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament was undertaken using semitendinosus tendon in 20 rabbits. Immunohistochemical evaluations were performed at one, two, four and eight weeks after the operation. The expression of CD31, RAM-11, VEGF, b-FGF, S-100 protein and collagen I, II and III in the bone-tendon interface was very similar to that in the endochondral ossification. Some of the type-III collagen in the outer layer of the graft, which was deposited at a very early phase after the operation, was believed to have matured into Sharpey-like fibres. However, remodelling of the tendon grafted into the bone tunnel was significantly delayed when compared with this ossification process. To promote healing, we believe that it is necessary to accelerate remodelling of the tendon, simultaneously with the augmentation of the ossification.