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J Orthop Res. 1993 Jan;11(1):68-77.

Proteoglycans in the compressed region of human tibialis posterior tendon and in ligaments.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque 87131.


Proteoglycan content and tissue morphology were examined in tendons and ligaments from 24 cadavers, ranging in age at the time of death from 1.5 months to 83 years. The region of the human tibialis posterior tendon that passes under the medial malleolus was characterized by cells having a rounded shape, positive staining with alcian blue, and higher glycosaminoglycanuronic acid content than in the more proximal region of the same tendon. Analysis of proteoglycans by sodium dodecyl sulfate/polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis indicated that the predominant small proteoglycan of the proximal/tensional region was decorin, whereas two types of small proteoglycans (decorin and biglycan) and large proteoglycans were present in the region passing under the medial malleolus and presumably subjected to compressive and shear forces in addition to tension. The pattern of proteoglycan accumulation in the compressed region of tendon was basically similar for all individuals and showed no distinctive trends related to age after puberty. In terms of type and amount of proteoglycan, the patellar tendon was like the tensional region of the tibialis posterior. Glycosaminoglycan content in the lateral collateral ligament and anterior cruciate ligament, however, was twofold higher than in the tendons. The ligaments contained large as well as small proteoglycans, just as in the compressed region of tendon.

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