by Laurie Erickson.
Researchers at the University of Glasgow discovered a microRNA that can restore the imbalance of Type I to III collagen that occurs with tendon injury. The team discovered that a microRNA called miR-29a helps regulate the collagen balance and that higher levels of miR-29a can restore collagen type I to pre-injury levels relative to type III. Trials have been done in cultured cells and in mice, and trials will soon begin in horses.
When tendon is injured, it heals by first producing new Type III collagen and later remodeling to produce more of the stronger Type I collagen. However, in tendinopathy, the tendon does not regain the pre-injury healthy ratio of Type I to Type III collagen. The Glasgow researchers are partnering with a new spin-off company Causeway Therapeutics to develop the new microRNA therapy, which has been named TenoMiR™.
The University of Glasgow has written a nice summary of the research, and one of their scientific papers can be found here.
The Glasgow research summary quotes one of the lead researchers, Dr. Neal Millar, an academic consultant orthopedic surgeon and clinical senior research fellow at the University of Glasgow.
“Tendinopathy is essentially the result of an imbalance between collagen type-1 and type-3 and we have discovered the molecular cause. This breakthrough has allowed us to find a way to alter the levels of collagen type-3 in tendons, with the ultimate aim to get patients with tendon injuries better quicker."