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J Biomech. 2011 Feb 24;44(4):771-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2010.10.044. Epub 2010 Nov 18.

Elucidation of extracellular matrix mechanics from muscle fibers and fiber bundles.

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Department of Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


The importance of the extracellular matrix (ECM) in muscle is widely recognized, since ECM plays a central role in proper muscle development (Buck and Horwitz, 1987), tissue structural support (Purslow, 2002), and transmission of mechanical signals between fibers and tendon (Huijing, 1999). Since substrate biomechanical properties have been shown to be critical in the biology of tissue development and remodeling (Engler et al., 2006; Gilbert et al., 2010), it is likely that mechanics are critical for ECM to perform its function. Unfortunately, there are almost no data available regarding skeletal muscle ECM viscoelastic properties. This is primarily due to the impossibility of isolating and testing muscle ECM. Therefore, this note presents a new method to quantify viscoelastic ECM modulus by combining tests of single muscle fibers and fiber bundles. Our results demonstrate that ECM is a highly nonlinearly elastic material, while muscle fibers are linearly elastic.

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