Nessler JP, Mass DP. Direct current electrical stimulation of tendon healing in vitro. Clin Ortho 1985; 217:303.
The intrinsic capacity of tendons to heal in response to injury has recently been demonstrated by many investigators. Electrical stimulation is often assumed to augment regeneration of various tissues. Using newly developed methods of whole-tendon culture, the authors examined the effect of direct-current electricity on healing in vitro. Deep flexor tendons of rabbits were excised, transected, repaired, and grown in an acellular culture medium for seven, 14, 21, or 42 days. Tendons through which a continuous 7-microAmp current was passed at the repair site were compared with nonstimulated controls. The incorporation of (14C)proline and its conversion to (14C)hydroxyproline was measured at seven days. The mean (14C)proline and (14C)hydroxyproline activities were 91% and 255% greater, respectively, in the stimulated group. The activity was also higher in the stimulated group, by 42 days. Histologic sections showed that intrinsic tenoblastic repair may be enhanced with electrical stimulation in vitro.