Original Article| Volume 36, ISSUE 11, P2794-2802, November 2020

Subacromial Bursa–Derived Cells Demonstrate High Proliferation Potential Regardless of Patient Demographics and Rotator Cuff Tear Characteristics


      To investigate the influence of patient demographics and rotator cuff tear characteristics on the cellular proliferation potential of subacromial bursa–derived cells (SBDCs).


      Patients undergoing arthroscopic rotator cuff repair between December 2017 and February 2019 were considered for enrollment in the study. Basic demographic information as well as medical and surgical history were obtained for each patient. Subacromial bursa was harvested from over the rotator cuff tendon. Cellular proliferation was evaluated after 3 weeks of incubation by counting nucleated SBDCs. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis was performed to confirm the presence of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) specific surface markers. Using preoperative radiographs and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), acromiohumeral distance (AHD), severity of cuff tear arthropathy, and rotator cuff tear characteristics were evaluated.


      Seventy-three patients (mean age: 57.2 ± 8.5 years) were included in the study. There was no significant difference in cellular proliferation of SBDCs when evaluating the influence of age, sex, body mass index (BMI), smoking status, and presence of systemic comorbidities (p > .05, respectively). Similarly, there was no significant difference in cellular proliferation of SBDCs when looking at rotator cuff tear characteristics (size, tendon retraction, fatty infiltration, muscle atrophy), AHD, or severity of cuff tear arthropathy (p > .05). FACS analysis confirmed nucleated SBDCs to have a high positive rate of MSC specific surface markers.


      Subacromial bursa consistently demonstrated a high cellular proliferation potential regardless of patient demographics, rotator cuff tear characteristics, and severity of glenohumeral joint degeneration.

      Clinical Relevance

      These findings may alleviate concerns that subacromial bursa might lose cellular proliferation potential when being used for biologic augmentation in massive and degenerated rotator cuff tears, thus assisting in predicting tendon healing and facilitating surgical decision-making.
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