Translational therapy from preclinical animal models for muscle degeneration after rotator cuff injury

Qian Liu, Qi Tang, Lele Liao, Ding Li, Weihong Zhu, Chunfeng Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Chronic rotator cuff tears are debilitating diseases which significantly affect patients’ quality of life and pose substantial financial burden to the society. The intraoperative reparability of injured tendon and postoperative probability of tendon retear are highly associated with the quality of torn muscles, specifically, the severity of muscle atrophy and fatty infiltration. Animal models that reproduce the characteristic muscle pathology after rotator cuff injury have been developed and used to provide insight into the underlying biology and pathophysiology. In this review, we briefly summarize the current information obtained from preclinical animal studies regarding the degenerative change of cuff muscle subsequent to tendon release and/or suprascapular nerve denervation. Importantly, we focus on the potential translational therapeutic targets or agents for the prevention or reversal of muscle atrophy and fatty infiltration. While further studies are warranted to assess the safety and efficacy of novel therapies derived from these preclinical animal research, we believe that their clinical translation for the treatment of rotator cuff disorders is on the horizon. The Translational potential of this article: Novel therapeutic strategies described in this review from preclinical animal studies hold a great translational potential for preventing or reversing rotator cuff muscle pathology, while further assessments on their safety and efficacy are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Translation
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Animal model
  • Fatty infiltration
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Rotator cuff tear
  • Suprascapular nerve denervation
  • Tenotomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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