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Age-related localised deposition of amyloid in connective tissue has been found in degenerative articular and periarticular tissue. Biopsies of the supraspinatus tendon of 28 patients undergoing repair of the rotator cuff were analysed histologically for the presence of localised deposition of amyloid. There was a long history of impingement in 20 patients, and eight patients had suffered an acute traumatic tear with no preceding symptoms. Localised deposition of amyloid identified by Congo Red staining was detected in 16 samples (57%). Amyloid was present in 14 (70%) of the degenerative tears, but in only two (25%) of the acute tears. Immunohistochemical staining showed that the amyloid deposits were positive for P component, but negative for kappa and lambda light chains, prealbumin, and beta2 microglobulin. Critical electrolyte staining revealed highly-sulphated glycosaminoglycans at sites of deposition of amyloid. The presence of localised deposition of amyloid in tears of the rotator cuff is likely to represent irreversible structural changes. These findings support the theory that impingement and tears are due to intrinsic degenerative changes within the tendons of the rotator cuff.

Original publication




Journal article


J Bone Joint Surg Br

Publication Date





561 - 564


Aged, Amyloid, Connective Tissue, Female, Glycosaminoglycans, Humans, Immunohistochemistry, Male, Middle Aged, Rotator Cuff Injuries, Shoulder Impingement Syndrome, Tissue Distribution