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What happens when tendons bend and twist? Proteoglycans.

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


When tendons must bend or twist in order to fulfil their function of attaching muscle to bone they are subjected to forces that could damage the tendon. However, there are concomitant protective changes in the structure of the tendon at the location of bending. One of these changes involves increased synthesis and accumulation of the large proteoglycan aggrecan. The accumulation of aggrecan can protect the tendon by providing compressive stiffness, by allowing collagen fascicles to slide relative to one another, and by protecting vascular elements.

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