Rotator cuff degeneration is one of the factors contributing to rotator cuff tears. Oxidative stress is involved in tendon degeneration, and superoxide‐induced oxidative stress plays a pathological role in regulating the balance between oxidation and reduction. The role of oxidative stress in rotator cuff tears, however, is unclear. This study, therefore, aimed to investigate the contribution of superoxide‐induced oxidative stress to rotator cuff tears. Seventy patients were recruited and divided into two groups: patients with (Ruptured group) and those without (Unruptured group) a rotator cuff tear. Specimens from both groups were collected during surgery. Degeneration morphology was classified according to the degeneration score. Superoxide‐induced oxidative stress was assessed according to dihydroethidium (DHE) relative fluorescence intensity, capacity for antioxidation according to superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, and the balance between oxidation and reduction based on the redox ratio. Data were compared between groups. Correlations between the degeneration score and the oxidative stress factors were calculated. Degeneration score and DHE relative fluorescence intensity were significantly higher in the Ruptured than the Unruptured group. The SOD activity was not significantly different between groups. Degeneration score was positively correlated with both DHE relative fluorescence intensity and SOD activity. Thus, superoxide‐induced oxidative stress and tendon degeneration were greater in rotator cuff tear tissues than in those with no tear, suggesting that oxidative imbalance may be involved in degenerative rotator cuff tears. Clinical Relevance: Understanding the mechanisms of superoxide‐induced oxidative stress may lead to targeted tissue therapy for degenerative rotator cuff tears.
Keywords: rotator cuff tear; degeneration; oxidative stress; superoxide dismutase; redox balance