Histology, vascularity and innervation of the glenoid labrum



Alashkham A, Alraddadi A, Felts P, Soames R.


J Orthop Surg (Hong Kong). 2018 May-Aug;26(2):2309499018770900. doi: 10.1177/2309499018770900.


BACKGROUND: Although the glenoid labrum has an important role in shoulder stability, little is known about its composition, vascularity and innervation. The aims of this study were therefore to evaluate the histology, vascularity and innervation of the glenoid labrum. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Ten glenoid labrum specimens (three male, two female: mean age 81.2 years, range 76-90 years) were detached at the glenoid neck. Following decalcification, sections were cut through the whole thickness of each specimen perpendicular to the glenoid labrum at 12 radii corresponding to a clock face superimposed on the glenoid fossa. Then they were stained using haematoxylin and eosin, a silver nitrate protocol or subjected to immunohistochemistry using anti-protein gene protein 9.5 to demonstrate neuronal processes. RESULTS: The labrum was fibrocartilaginous, being more fibrous in its free margin. There was a variable distribution of blood vessels, being more vascular in its periphery, with many originating from the fibrous capsule and piercing the glenoid labrum. Immunohistochemistry revealed positive staining of nerve fibres within the glenoid labrum. CONCLUSION: The glenoid labrum is fibrocartilaginous, being more fibrous in its periphery, and is vascularized, with the anterosuperior aspect having a rich blood supply. Free sensory nerve fibres were also present; no encapsulated mechanoreceptors were observed. The presence of sensory nerve fibres in the glenoid labrum could explain why tears induce pain. It is postulated that these sensory fibres could play a role in glenohumeral joint proprioception.

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Link/DOI: 10.1177/2309499018770900