Prolotherapy refers to the injection of a substance that leads to growth of normal organs, tissues or cells, according to the American Association of Orthopaedic Medicine. Prolotherapy treatments include growth factor injections and growth factor stimulations. For example, doctors may inject a substance that stimulates red blood cell growth in anemic patients.
Growth factor injection prolotherapy involves injecting a complex protein designed to initiate growth of a particular cell line, according to the AAOM. Studies to develop treatments to stimulate growth of cartilage cells in arthritis patients are underway, as of 2015. Studies are also underway to develop injection prolotherapy to stimulate fibroblast growth to treat sprains.
In growth factor stimulation prolotherapy, a doctor injects a substance that compels the body to produce its own growth factors, states the AAOM. Injection of 10 percent dextrose is one example of this type of treatment, as studies show that this type of therapy eases symptoms of arthritis in large and small joints. When cells are exposed to as little as 0.3 percent dextrose, research shows that they develop growth factors such as epidermal growth factor, connective tissue growth factor and basic fibroblast growth factor.
Inflammatory prolotherapy involves injections that activate an inflammatory response and an accelerated production of growth factors, notes the AAOM. Examples include injections of higher concentrations of dextrose as well as solutions with phenol and sodium morrhuate.