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Connect Tissue Res. 1997;36(3):261-9.

Collagen fibril diameters in the rabbit medial collateral ligament scar: a longer term assessment.

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  • 1McCaig Centre for Joint Injury and Arthritis Research, Department of Surgery, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


Previous transmission electron microscopic investigations of collagen fibril diameters in rabbit medial collateral ligament (MCL) scars have indicated a homogeneous population of small fibrils for the first 40 weeks of healing. In this study, four 8 mm MCL gap scars were studied at 78 weeks of healing and another three at 104 weeks. Results showed increased heterogeneity in the distribution of fibril diameters in all scars, with the appearance of progressively slightly larger fibrils in 78 and 104 week specimens. All longer term scars still contained roughly 90% small fibrils plus some "patches" of larger fibrils, but there was considerable variation between animals in these proportions. No scar contained the fibril populations typical of uninjured adult rabbit MCLs. These results suggest slow but on-going collagen fibril turnover and remodeling in this gap healing rabbit MCL model via currently unidentified mechanisms.

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