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Micron. 2006;37(6):518-25. Epub 2006 Feb 23.

Comparative ultrastructural analysis of different regions of two digital flexor tendons of pigs.

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Department of Morphology, Federal University of Sergipe, Aracaju, SE, Brazil.


Tendons are parallel arrays of collagenous fibers which are specialized in resisting and transmitting tensile forces. In this work we examined the structure of the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) and the deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT) of pigs, which are considered "wrap around" tendons and so receive compression and tension forces. In both tendons, fibrocartilaginous areas were observed in the regions subjected to compression plus frictional loading. Histological and ultrastructural analyses of the tensional region showed an extracellular matrix (ECM) rich in collagen bundles, that were all arranged in the same direction. Fibroblasts were seen closely associated with the collagen bundles. Chondrocyte-like cells and high levels of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) were observed in the compressional regions. The collagen bundles in the compressional region were arranged in several directions and were associated with proteoglycans (PGs). The crimp pattern detected in the tensional region showed that the collagen fibrils were ordered aggregates which formed helical superstructures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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