Collagenase was injected into the Achilles tendon of both hind legs of 10 clinically normal adult male New Zealand white rabbits. One month after induction of the injury, beta-aminoproprionitrile (BAPN) or hyaluronic acid (HA) was injected into the tendon core of the right hind leg of each rabbit, the left hind leg being left untreated. The treatment effects were evaluated by electron microscopy and analysis of the glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content of samples at 2 and 6 months post-treatment. At 2 months, collagen fibrils in tendons from both hind legs were relatively small in diameter, irregularly arranged, and interspersed with abundant active tenocytes as compared with those in normal tendon uninjured by collagenase. In the matrix, the amount of HA increased, but chondroitin-6-sulphate was eliminated. At 6 months, BAPN-treated tendons had small-diameter, regularly arranged collagen fibrils. HA-treated tendons, on the other hand, had large diameters, as well as regularly arranged collagen fibrils by comparison with non-treated tendon. The results suggest that HA, unlike BAPN, promoted healing.