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Int J Exp Pathol. 2013 Aug;94(4):260-70. doi: 10.1111/iep.12037.

Fatigue loading of tendon.

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  • 1Institute of Bioengineering, School of Engineering and Materials Science, Queen Mary, University of London, London E1 4NS, UK.


Tendon injuries, often called tendinopathies, are debilitating and painful conditions, generally considered to develop as a result of tendon overuse. The aetiology of tendinopathy remains poorly understood, and whilst tendon biopsies have provided some information concerning tendon appearance in late-stage disease, there is still little information concerning the mechanical and cellular events associated with disease initiation and progression. Investigating this in situ is challenging, and numerous models have been developed to investigate how overuse may generate tendon fatigue damage and how this may relate to tendinopathy conditions. This article aims to review these models and our current understanding of tendon fatigue damage. We review the strengths and limitations of different methodologies for characterizing tendon fatigue, considering in vitro methods that adopt both viable and non-viable samples, as well as the range of different in vivo approaches. By comparing data across model systems, we review the current understanding of fatigue damage development. Additionally, we compare these findings with data from tendinopathic tissue biopsies to provide some insights into how these models may relate to the aetiology of tendinopathy. Fatigue-induced damage consistently highlights the same microstructural, biological and mechanical changes to the tendon across all model systems and also correlates well with the findings from tendinopathic biopsy tissue. The multiple testing routes support matrix damage as an important contributor to tendinopathic conditions, but cellular responses to fatigue appear complex and often contradictory.

© 2013 The Authors. International Journal of Experimental Pathology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


fatigue; mechanics; rupture; tendinopathy; tendon

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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