Soslowsky Laboratory

Animal Models for Therapeutics

Therapeutic Treatment Evaluation for Improved Tendon Healing
The ability to perform pre-clinical testing of proposed therapeutic treatments for tendon injury is paramount prior to establishing clinical trials. Our industrial collaborators are interested in applying their therapeutics in our animal models, including rat rotator cuff injury and repair, rat Achilles tendon injury (non-surgical and surgical repair models), and mouse anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) autograft replacement. Utilizing biomechanical, histological, organizational, biological, and longitudinal functional assays provides a comprehensive investigation of how tested treatments affect tendon healing properties. Specific, ongoing research includes the following:

  1. Evaluating the effects of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy on rotator cuff tendon healing:
    • The ability of rotator cuff tendons to heal back to bone following injury is limited. As a result, surgical repairs often fail. Augmentation of the native healing process, particularly through non-invasive therapeutics, is of great clinical interest. Pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy is an established treatment for fracture non-union and spinal fusions, as it has been shown to promote bone formation. Our studies have established this therapeutic approach to be beneficial for rotator cuff healing, increasing early tendon mechanical and compositional properties. Based on these findings, a clinical trial to assess the effects of PEMF after rotator cuff tendon repair is ongoing (link to: .  We are currently assessing mechanisms for these effects using our rat model.

      For more information, see:

    • Tucker JJ, Cirone JM, Morris TR, Nuss CA, Huegel J, Waldorff EI, Zhang N, Ryaby JT, Soslowsky LJ. Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy improves tendon-to-bone healing in a rat rotator cuff repair model. J Orthop Res. 2017 Apr;35(4):902-909. doi: 10.1002/jor.23333.
    • Huegel J, Choi DS, Nuss CA, Minnig MCC, Tucker JJ, Kuntz AF, Waldorff EI, Zhang N, Ryaby JT, Soslowsky LJ. Effects of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy  at different frequencies and durations on rotator cuff tendon-to-bone healing in  a rat model. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2018 Mar;27(3):553-560.
    • Huegel J, Boorman-Padgett JF, Nuss CA, Raja HA, Chan PY, Kuntz AF, Waldorff EI, Zhang N, Ryaby JT, Soslowsky LJ. Effects of Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy on Rat Achilles Tendon Healing. J Orthop Res. 2020 Jan;38(1):70-81. doi:  10.1002/jor.24487.
  2. Evaluating the effects of poly-n-acteyl glucosamine on rotator cuff tendon healing:
    • Rotator cuff injuries frequently require surgical repairs which have a high failure rate. Biological augmentation has been utilized in an attempt to improve tendon repair. Poly-N-acetyl glucosamine (sNAG) polymer containing nanofibers has been shown to increase the rate for healing of venous leg ulcers. Addition of this material to the supraspinatus footprint after detachment and prior to repair improved tendon mechanical properties at early time points of healing.

For more information, see:

  • Nuss CA, Huegel J, Boorman-Padgett JF, Choi DS, Weiss SN, Vournakis J, Soslowsky LJ. Poly-N-Acetyl Glucosamine (sNAG) Enhances Early Rotator Cuff Tendon Healing in a Rat Model. Ann Biomed Eng. 2017 Dec;45(12):2826-2836. doi: 10.1007/s10439-017-1923-4.
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