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J Biomech. 2012 May 11;45(8):1550-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2012.02.022. Epub 2012 Mar 8.

Development and evaluation of multiple tendon injury models in the mouse.

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McKay Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania, 36th & Hamilton Walk, 424 Stemmler Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6081, USA.


The mouse has proven to be an advantageous animal model system in basic science research focused on aiding in development and evaluation of potential treatments; however, the small size of mouse tendons makes consistent and reproducible injury models and subsequent biomechanical evaluation challenging for studying tendon healing. In this study, we investigated the feasibility and reproducibility of multiple mouse tendon injury models. Our hypothesis was that incisional (using a blade) and excisional (using a biopsy punch) injuries would result in consistent differences in tendon material properties. At 16 weeks of age, 17 C57BL/6 mice underwent surgery to create defects in the flexor digitorum longus, Achilles, or patellar tendon. Each animal received 1-2 full-thickness, central-width incisional or excisional injuries per limb; at least one tendon per limb remained uninjured. The injuries were distributed such that each tendon type had comparable numbers of uninjured, incisionally injured, and excisionally injured specimens. Three weeks after injury, all animals were euthanized and tendons were harvested for mechanical testing. As hypothesized, differences were detected for all three different tendon types at three weeks post-injury. While all models created injuries that produced predictable outcomes, the patellar tendon model was the most consistent in terms of number and size of significant differences in injured tendons compared to native properties, as well as in the overall variance in the data. This finding provides support for its use in fundamental tendon healing studies; however, future work may use any of these models, based on their appropriateness for the specific question under study.

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