Morphological Effect of Immobilization on Collagen Febrils in Rat Tail Tendons
Frank, Katherine J.
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The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of stress deprivation on the diameter and area density of collagen fibrils in rat tail tendons and to correlate the results with changes in stiffness in the tendons. We deprived tendons of stress by immobilizing them in media for 21 days and analyzed them against controls using transmission electron microscopy for fibril diameter and area, mechanical testing for stiffness and northern blot assay for production of interstitial collagenase, which occurs after stress deprivation. Collagen fibril morphology remained statistically unchanged while stiffness decreased and collagenase production increased. These results indicate that collagen fibril size is not solely responsible for decrease in stiffness after stress deprivation and that more investigation into the physiological cause for mechanical failure in tendons must occur.