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Ann Anat. 2008 Nov 20;190(5):442-51. doi: 10.1016/j.aanat.2008.05.003. Epub 2008 Jul 11.

Variation of diameter distribution, number density, and area fraction of fibrils within five areas of the rabbit patellar tendon.

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Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Mississippi State University, Box 9632, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA.


The purpose of this investigation is to show microstructural information at various regions within the rabbit patellar tendon. The properties of the rabbit patellar tendon are well documented mechanically, but detailed information at the microscopic level is not available. Increasing attention has been directed to soft tissue microscopy as the demand for development of biologically inspired materials increases. Microstructural examination of the tendon fibrils is performed to provide further insight into understanding of the structure to function relations within the rabbit patellar tendon. Limited studies on rabbit patellar tendon collagen fibrils at the microscopic level have been computed. Furthermore, evaluation of structure-function relations in multiple regions of any given specimen of a particular tissue type has not been conducted. In this study the number density, area fraction, and diameter distribution of collagen fibrils have been determined. Overall, this examination showed considerable variation within each section of the tendon. Correlating these structural results with mechanical tests of the tendon portions in the various regions could provide additional information on the mechanics of the rabbit tendon as well as insight into development of artificial tissue constructs.

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