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J Biomech Eng. 2003 Dec;125(6):893-901.

Effects of cyclic stress on the mechanical properties of cultured collagen fascicles from the rabbit patellar tendon.

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Biomechanics Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Biomimetics, School of Biology-Oriented Science and Technology, Kinki University, Naga, Wakayama 649-6493, Japan.


Effects of cyclic stress on the mechanical properties of collagen fascicles were studied by in vitro tissue culture experiments. Collagen fascicles (approximately 300 microns in diameter) obtained from the rabbit patellar tendon were applied cyclic load at 4 Hz for one hour per day during culture period for one or two weeks, and then their mechanical properties were determined using a micro-tensile tester. There was a statistically significant correlation between tensile strength and applied peak stress in the range of 0 to 5 MPa, and the relation was expressed by a quadratic function. The maximum strength (19.4 MPa) was obtained at the applied peak stress of 1.8 MPa. The tensile strength of fascicles were within a range of control values, if they were cultured under peak stresses between 1.1 and 2.6 MPa. Similar results were also observed in the tangent modulus, which was maintained at control level under applied peak stresses between 0.9 and 2.8 MPa. The stress of 0.9 to 1.1 MPa is equivalent to approximately 40% of the in vivo peak stress which is developed in the intact rabbit patellar tendon by running, whereas that of 2.6 to 2.8 MPa corresponds to approximately 120% of the in vivo peak stress. Therefore, the fascicles cultured under applied peak stresses of lower than 40% and higher than 120% of the in vivo peak stress do not keep the original strength and modulus. These results indicate that the mechanical properties of cultured collagen fascicles strongly depend upon the magnitude of the stress applied during culture, which are similar to our previous results observed in stress-shielded and overstressed patellar tendons in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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