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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2009 Feb;106(2):468-75. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.91341.2008. Epub 2008 Nov 20.

Effect of acute resistance exercise and sex on human patellar tendon structural and regulatory mRNA expression.

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Human Performance Laboratory, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306, USA.


Tendon is mainly composed of collagen and an aqueous matrix of proteoglycans that are regulated by enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMPs). Although it is known that resistance exercise (RE) and sex influence tendon metabolism and mechanical properties, it is uncertain what structural and regulatory components contribute to these responses. We measured the mRNA expression of tendon's main fibrillar collagens (type I and type III) and the main proteoglycans (decorin, biglycan, fibromodulin, and versican) and the regulatory enzymes MMP-2, MMP-9, MMP-3, and TIMP-1 at rest and after RE. Patellar tendon biopsy samples were taken from six individuals (3 men and 3 women) before and 4 h after a bout of RE and from a another six individuals (3 men and 3 women) before and 24 h after RE. Resting mRNA expression was used for sex comparisons (6 men and 6 women). Collagen type I, collagen type III, and MMP-2 were downregulated (P < 0.05) 4 h after RE but were unchanged (P > 0.05) 24 h after RE. All other genes remained unchanged (P > 0.05) after RE. Women had higher resting mRNA expression (P < 0.05) of collagen type III and a trend (P = 0.08) toward lower resting expression of MMP-3 than men. All other genes were not influenced (P > 0.05) by sex. Acute RE appears to stimulate a change in collagen type I, collagen type III, and MMP-2 gene regulation in the human patellar tendon. Sex influences the structural and regulatory mRNA expression of tendon.

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