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Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2000 Jun;15(5):370-8.

Effects of growth on the response of the rabbit patellar tendon to stress shielding: a biomechanical study.

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Biomechanics Laboratory, Division of Mechanical Science, Department of Systems and Human Science, Graduate School of Engineering Science, Osaka University, Toyonaka, Osaka, Japan.



To know the effect of stress deprivation on the dimensions and mechanical properties of the patellar tendon during growth.


The dimensions and tensile properties of stress-shielded patellar tendons were studied in growing rabbits and compared to those in mature animals.


Although the effects of stress deprivation on the remodeling of ligaments and tendons have been studied in various animal models, the effect of growth on the remodeling has not been studied well.


A stress shielding technique was applied to 1-, 2-, and 3-month-old Japanese white rabbits to completely remove stress in the patellar tendons for 4, 7, and 14 days. Changes in the dimensions and mechanical properties as well as fibroblast density of the tendon were determined.


The tensile strength and tangent modulus of the patellar tendons were markedly decreased by stress shielding, while the cross-sectional area was significantly increased, with the largest changes in 1-month-old rabbits. Fibroblast density also increased; however, the degree of increase was highest in 3-month-old rabbits.


The changes in the dimensions and mechanical properties of the patellar tendons induced by stress shielding were greater in younger animals.


The biomechanical response of tendons and ligaments to stress deprivation induced by, for example, limb immobilization is greater and occurs earlier in younger subjects, which is important for the surgical treatment and rehabilitation protocol of joint diseases in young subjects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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