Rotator cuff tears are a common pathology in the shoulder and generally have two underlying etiologies: traumatic and degenerative. Little is known about the molecular underpinning of these etiologies. Here we queried transcript level differences in tear etiology stratified by sex in 31 patients with rotator cuff tears. Tendon tissues were isolated from females (N = 16) and males (N = 15) with traumatic (N = 16) or degenerative (N = 15) tears during arthroscopy. Differentially expressed transcripts were identified by RNA-seq and biological processes were probed computationally. Expression of some transcripts was validated by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). We identified 339 and 336 transcripts differentially expressed by tear etiology in females and males, respectively, at a fold-change greater than |2|. In females, GSTM1, MT1G, S1008A, ACSM3, DSC, FAM110C, and VNN2 were elevated in traumatic tears representing metabolic/catabolic processes, and immune response whereas CHAD, CLEC3A, IBSP, TNMD, APLNR, and CPA3 were elevated in degenerative tears representing tissue morphogenesis and developmental processes, angiogenesis, and extracellular matrix organization. In males, ELOA3B, CXCL8, ADM, TNS4, and SPOCK1 were elevated in traumatic tears representing localization of endoplasmic reticulum, chromosome organization, leukocyte/neutrophil degranulation, and protein transport whereas MYL2, TNNC1, MB, CPA3, APLNR, and CA3 were highly upregulated in degenerative tears representing muscle cell differentiation and development and angiogenesis. Numerous novel lncRNAs were identified to be differentially expressed by tear etiology in both sexes. Real-time qPCR confirmed RNA-seq data. This study improves our understanding of tendon biology based on underlying etiology (trauma or degeneration) in a sex-specific manner. These findings may help drive clinical decision-making in females and males with traumatic and degenerative shoulder injuries.
- developmental processes
- extracellular matrix organization
- protein transport
- tissue morphogenesis