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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2009 December;49(4):346-57


language: English

Therapeutic use of growth factors in the musculoskeletal system in sports-related injuries

Bachl N. 1, Derman W. 2, Engebretsen L. 3, Goldspink G. 4, Kinzlbauer M. 1, Tschan H. 1, Volpi P. 5, Venter D. 6, Wessner B. 1

1 Department of Sports and Exercise Physiology, Centre for Sports Sciences and University Sports, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; 2 MRC/UCT Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa; 3 Orthopaedic Center, Ullevaal University Hospital, Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway; 4 Division of Surgery, Royal Free Hospital Campus, University College London Medical School, London, England; 5 IRCCS Galeazzi Orthopaedic Institute, Sports Traumatology and Arthroscopic Unit, Milan, Italy; 6 Pathology, Mater Health Services and Dept of Pathology, School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia


Growth factors (GFs) act as signalling agents for cells and become a more and more popular mean to influence the human body and its tissues. This review gives an overview of the current possibilities to use such agents in the field of sports related injuries and thus providing the athlete with a whole new potential to minimize recovery time. GFs and its application have been studied intensively for a long time starting with animal studies. For some of this GFs this research has been brought onto the next level to clinical phase trials. Agents such as insulin like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), mechano growth factor (MGF), basic fibroblast growth factor (B-FGF), platelet derived growth factor (PDGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), transforming growth factor b (TGF-b), bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) and leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) are being discussed in this review. These GFs not only have the potential to be used to cure injuries but also are being in the centre of interest for doping abusers and are a powerful yet not fully understood technique to gain performance.

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