Donnelly E, Ascenzi M-G, and Farnum CE. (2010) Primary cilia are highly oriented with respect to collagen direction and long axis of extensor tendon. J Orthop Res 28: 77-82.



Skeletal tissues adapt to their mechanical environments by modulating gene expression, cell metabolism, and extracellular matrix (ECM) architecture; however, the mechanosensory mechanisms for these processes are incompletely understood. Primary cilia have emerged as critical components of the cellular mechanosensory apparatus and have been hypothesized to participate in establishment of cellular and ECM orientation, but their function in skeletal tissues is just beginning to be examined. Here we focused on tendon, a tissue with an oriented matrix that is ideal for analysis of spatial relationships between primary cilia and the ECM. The objective of this study was to characterize the incidence and orientation of tenocyte primary cilia in their native ECM. Primary cilia, nuclei, and collagen were analyzed three-dimensionally in immunofluorescently labeled rat extensor tendon using multiphoton microscopy and semiautomated morphometry. Primary cilia were observed in 64% of tenocytes. The cilia were highly oriented with respect to the ECM: cilia were aligned parallel to the collagen fibers and the long axis of the tendon. This study represents the first quantification of the in situ incidence and orientation of primary cilia in tendon. © 2009 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 28:77–82, 2010


primary cilia; tendon; tenocyte; collagen; multiphoton microscopy