Decreased muscle loading delays maturation of the tendon enthesis during postnatal development

Stavros Thomopoulos, Hyun-Min Mike Kim, Stefan Y. Rothermich, Carrie Biederstadt, Rosalina Das, Leesa M. Galatz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Physical environment influences the development and maintenance of musculoskeletal tissues. The current study uses an animal model to explore the role of the physical environment on the postnatal development of the supraspinatus tendon enthesis. A supraspinatus intramuscular injection of botulinum toxin A was used to paralyze the left shoulders of mice at birth. The supraspinatus muscles of right shoulders were injected with saline to serve as contralateral controls. The supraspinatus enthesis was examined after 14, 21, 28, and 56 days of postnatal development. Histologic assays were used to examine fibrocartilage morphology and percentage osteoclast surface. Micro-computed tomography was used to examine muscle geometry and bone architecture. At 14 days there were no differences between groups in fibrocartilage formation, muscle geometry, bone architecture, or osteoclast surface. When comparing groups at 21, 28, and 56 days, muscle volume was decreased, fibrocartilage development was delayed, mineralized bone was decreased, and osteoclast surface was higher at each timepoint in the botulinum group compared to the contralateral saline control group. Our results indicate that the development of the tendon enthesis is sensitive to its mechanical environment. A reduction in muscle loading delayed the development of the tendonto-bone insertion site by impeding the accumulation of mineralized bone. Physical factors did not play a significant role in enthesis maturation in the first 14 days postnatally, implying that biologic factors may drive earlkpostnatal development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1154-1163
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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