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Effect of acute exercise on patella tendon protein synthesis and gene expression

Kasper Dideriksen12*, Ann Kathrine Ryberg Sindby12, Michael Krogsgaard3, Peter Schjerling12, Lars Holm12 and Henning Langberg12

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopedic Surgery M81, Bispebjerg Hospital, Bispebjerg Bakke 23, DK-2400, Copenhagen, NV, Denmark

2 Center for Healthy Aging, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 3, DK-2200, Copenhagen, N, Denmark

3 Institute of Sports Traumatology, Department of Orthopedic Surgery M51, Bispebjerg Hospital, Bispebjerg Bakke 23, DK-2400, Copenhagen, NV, Denmark

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SpringerPlus 2013, 2:109  doi:10.1186/2193-1801-2-109

Published: 13 March 2013


Evidence suggests that habitual loading can result in patellar tendon hypertrophy, especially at the proximal and distal parts of the patellar tendon. The underlying protein kinetic changes and its regulation remains controversial and human data, investigating this topic, are limited. The present study investigated how acute exercise affects growth factor production and collagen fractional synthetic rate in patellar tendon tissue from patients undergoing an anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction operation. The operation was performed by use of the bone-patellar tendon-bone method under spinal anesthesia.

Twelve subjects were randomized to one of two groups: a control group or an exercise group (1-hr unilateral knee-extension 67% of Wmax 24 hours before operation). Two hours before the anterior cruciate ligament operation a flooding-dose of L-[1-13C]proline was given. Tissue from the most proximal part of the patellar tendon was obtained during the operation. Tendon collagen fractional synthetic rate and mRNA concentrations of TGF-β-1, CTGF, and type I and III collagen were measured.

CTGF and type I collagen expression were higher in the exercise group compared to the control group (p < 0.05). Type III collagen expression (p = 0.11), TGF-β-1 expression (p = 0.34), and collagen fractional synthetic rate (p = 0.26) did not differ between groups.

Although the expression of CTGF and type I collagen were higher, the patellar tendon collagen fractional synthetic rate was not correspondingly higher after exercise. The elevated CTGF expression in the exercise group indicates that the TGF-beta pathway could be an important link between mechanical loading and stimulation of tendon tissue type I collagen expression.

Tendon Collagen FSR; TGF-β-1; CTGF; Type I collagen; Type III collagen