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J Orthop Res. 1995 Nov;13(6):898-906.

Dose-dependent response of gamma irradiation on mechanical properties and related biochemical composition of goat bone-patellar tendon-bone allografts.

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Noyes-Giannestras Biomechanics Laboratories, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, University of Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0048, USA.


We studied the effects of gamma irradiation on the dimensions, mechanical and material properties, and mature hydroxypyridinium crosslink density of collagen in goat patellar tendon-bone specimens. Left and right patellar tendon-bone units were removed from 10 adult female goats and were bisected longitudinally. Each tendon half was frozen, and then the left halves were exposed to 4, 6, or 8 Mrad (40,000, 60,000, or 80,000 Gy) of gamma irradiation. The contralateral tendon halves served as controls (no irradiation). Each specimen then was loaded to failure in tension, and its soft-tissue midsubstance was processed to measure collagen content and hydroxypyridinium crosslink density. Dose-dependent reductions in the mechanical properties were found, including 46% (p < 0.01) and 18% (p < 0.05) reductions in maximum force and stiffness, respectively, at 4 Mrad. Similar reductions were noted in material properties, including 37% (p < 0.005) and 8% (p > 0.05) reductions in maximum stress and modulus, respectively, at 4 Mrad. These results are consistent with our previous report involving 2 and 3 Mrad (20,000 and 30,000 Gy) of exposure. We also found significant decreases in hydroxypyridinium crosslink density with 6 Mrad of irradiation (p < 0.05). However, since only one biomechanical parameter (modulus) correlated significantly with only one biochemical measure (hydroxypyridinium crosslink density) (p < 0.05), other possible mechanisms also are being explored to more fully explain these dose-dependent changes.

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