Effect of Tamoxifen on Fatty Degeneration and Atrophy of Rotator Cuff Muscles in Chronic Rotator Cuff Tear: An Animal Model Study

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Fatty degeneration of the rotator cuff muscles is an irreversible change resulting from chronic rotator cuff tear and is associated with poor clinical outcomes following rotator cuff repair. We evaluated the effect of Tamoxifen, a competitive estrogen receptor inhibitor, on fatty degeneration using a mouse model for chronic rotator cuff tear. Sixteen adult mice were divided into two diet groups (Tamoxifen vs. Regular) and subjected to surgical creation of a large rotator cuff tear and suprascapular nerve transection in their left shoulder with the right shoulder serving as a control. The rotator cuff muscles were harvested at 16 weeks and subjected to histology and RT-PCR for adipogenic and myogenic markers. Histology showed substantially decreased atrophy and endomysial inflammation in Tamoxifen group, but no significant differences in the amount of intramuscular adipocytes and lipid droplets compared to the Regular group. With RT-PCR, the operated shoulders showed significant upregulation of myogenin and PPAR-γ, and downregulation of myostatin compared to the nonsurgical shoulder. No significant differences of gene expression were found between the two diet groups. Our study demonstrated that tamoxifen diet leads to decreased muscle atrophy and inflammatory changes following chronic rotator cuff tear, but has no apparent effect on adipogenesis. © 2015 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 33:1846–1853, 2015.

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