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J Biomech. 1988;21(3):207-12.

Mechanical properties of rat tail tendon in relation to proximal-distal sampling position and age.

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Department of Connective Tissue Biology, University of Aarhus, Denmark.


The mechanical properties of 3, 15 and 25 month-old rat tail tendons were investigated in relation to proximal-distal sampling location along the fibre length. For the 15 and 25 month-old tendons maximum load as well as collagen content per mm fibre length (unit collagen) increased markedly from the proximal to the distal location. A linear regression analysis of the collagen content and mechanical parameters (maximum load, maximum slope of the load-strain curve and energy absorption) showed that these parameters were linearly correlated to the collagen content. However, normalization of the mechanical parameters with regard to the collagen content did not cancel the dependency of the parameters on proximal-distal sampling location. Normalized load and energy values for the 3 month-old tendons and normalized slope values for the 15 and 25 month-old tendons were found to decrease from proximal to distal location. These findings showed that tail tendons are heterogeneous along their length in respect to mechanical strength. The regression analysis also indicated the existence of an inverse relationship between unit collagen and mechanical quality of the collagen. Alternatively, the mechanical properties of tendon fibres might be influenced by other components than collagen.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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