Absence of estrogen receptor beta leads to abnormal adipogenesis during early tendon healing by an up-regulation of PPARγ signalling

Xuting Bian, Tianyao Liu, Mei Zhou, Gang He, Yuanyuan Ma, Youxing Shi, Yunjiao Wang, Hong Tang, Xia Kang, Mingyu Yang, Jan Åke Gustafsson, Xiaotang Fan, Kanglai Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Achilles tendon injury is one of the challenges of sports medicine, the aetiology of which remains unknown. For a long time, estrogen receptor β (ERβ) has been known as a regulating factor of the metabolism in many connective tissues, such as bone, muscle and cartilage, but little is known about its role in tendon. Recent studies have implicated ERβ as involved in the process of tendon healing. Tendon-derived stem cells (TDSCs) are getting more and more attention in tendon physiological and pathological process. In this study, we investigated how ERβ played a role in Achilles tendon healing. Achilles tendon injury model was established to analyse how ERβ affected on healing process in vivo. Cell proliferation assay, Western blots, qRT-PCR and immunocytochemistry were performed to investigate the effect of ERβ on TDSCs. Here, we showed that ERβ deletion in mice resulted in inferior gross appearance, histological scores and, most importantly, increased accumulation of adipocytes during the early tendon healing which involved activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) signalling. Furthermore, in vitro results of ours confirmed that the abnormity might be the result of abnormal TDSC adipogenic differentiation which could be partially reversed by the treatment of ERβ agonist LY3201. These data revealed a role of ERβ in Achilles tendon healing for the first time, thereby providing a new target for clinical treatment of Achilles tendon injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7406-7416
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • PPARγ signalling
  • achilles tendon healing
  • estrogen receptor β
  • tendon-derived stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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