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research-article

Functionally Distinct Tendons from Elastin Haploinsufficient Mice Exhibit Mild Stiffening and Tendon-Specific Structural Alteration

[+] Author and Article Information
Jeremy D Eekhoff

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130
jeremyeekhoff@wustl.edu

Fei Fang

Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, Washington University in St. Louis, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130
fangfei@wustl.edu

Lindsey G Kahan

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130
l.kahan@wustl.edu

M.G. Espinosa

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130
mgespinosa@wustl.edu

Austin J Cocciolone

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130
ajcoccio@wustl.edu

Jessica E. Wagenseil

Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, Washington University in St. Louis, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130
jessica.wagenseil@wustl.edu

Robert P Mecham

Department of Cell Biology & Physiology, Washington University in St. Louis, 660 South Euclid Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110
bmecham@wustl.edu

Spencer P Lake

Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, Washington University in St. Louis, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis; Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Washington University in St. Louis, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130
lake.s@wustl.edu

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4037932 History: Received August 14, 2017; Revised September 11, 2017

Abstract

Elastic fibers are present in low quantities in tendon, where they are located both within fascicles near tenocytes and more broadly in the interfascicular matrix. While elastic fibers have long been known to be significant in the mechanics of elastin-rich tissue (i.e. vasculature, skin, lungs), recent studies have suggested a mechanical role for elastic fibers in tendons that is dependent on specific tendon function. However, the exact contribution of elastin to properties of different types of tendons (e.g., positional, energy-storing) remains unknown. Therefore, this study purposed to evaluate the role of elastin in the mechanical properties and collagen alignment of functionally distinct supraspinatus tendons (SSTs) and Achilles tendons (ATs) from elastin haploinsufficient (HET) and wild type (WT) mice. Despite the significant decrease in elastin in HET tendons, a slight increase in linear stiffness of both tendons was the only significant mechanical effect of elastin haploinsufficiency. Additionally, there were significant changes in collagen nanostructure and subtle alteration to collagen alignment in the AT but not the SST. Hence, elastin may play only a minor role in tendon mechanical properties. Alternatively, larger changes to tendon mechanics may have been mitigated by developmental compensation of HET tendons and/or the role of elastic fibers may be less prominent in smaller mouse tendons compared to the larger bovine and human tendons evaluated in previous studies. Further research will be necessary to fully elucidate the influence of various elastic fiber components on structure-function relationships in functionally distinct tendons.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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