Evidence against proteoglycan mediated collagen fibril load transmission and dynamic viscoelasticity in tendon Fessel, G; Snedeker, J G Fessel, G; Snedeker, J G (2009 The glycosaminoglycan (GAG) dermatan sulphate and chondroitin sulphate side-chains of small leucine-rich proteoglycans have been increasingly posited to act as molecular cross links between adjacent collagen fibrils and to directly contribute to tendon elasticity. GAGs have also been implicated in tendon viscoelasticity, supposedly affecting frictional loss during elongation or fluid flow through the extra cellular matrix.The current study sought to systematically test these theories of tendon structure-function by investigating the mechanical repercussions of enzymatic depletion of GAG complexes by chondroitinase ABC in a reproducible tendon structure-function model (rat tail fascicles). The extent of GAG removal (at least 93%) was verified by relevant spectrophotometric assays and transmission electron microscopy. Dynamic viscoelastic tensile tests on GAG depleted rat tail tendon fascicle were not mechanically different from controls in storage modulus (elastic behavior) over a wide range of strain-rates (0.05, 0.5, and 5% change in length per second) in either the linear or nonlinear regions of the material curve. Loss modulus (viscoelastic behavior) was only affected in the nonlinear region at the highest strain rate, and even this effect was marginal (19% increased loss modulus, p=0.035). Thus glycosaminoglycan chains of small leucine rich proteoglycans do not appear to mediate dynamic elastic behavior nor do they appear to regulate the dynamic viscoelastic properties in rat tail tendon fascicles.
The crosslinking agent genipin is increasingly invoked for the mechanical augmentation of collagen tissues and implants, and has previously been demonstrated to arrest mechanical damage accumulation in various tissues. This study established an in vitro dose-response baseline for the effects of genipin treatment on tendon cells and their matrix, with a view to in vivo application to the repair of partial tendon tears. Regression models based on a broad range of experimental data were used to delineate the range of concentrations that are likely to achieve functionally effective crosslinking, and predict the corresponding degree of cell loss and diminished metabolic activity that can be expected. On these data, it was concluded that rapid mechanical augmentation of tissue properties can only be achieved by accepting some degree of cytotoxicity, yet that post-treatment cell survival may be adequate to eventually repopulate and stabilize the tissue. On this basis, development of delivery strategies and subsequent in vivo study seems warranted.
Advanced glycation end-products (AGE) contribute to age-related connective tissue damage and functional deficit. The documented association between AGE formation on collagens and the correlated progressive stiffening of tissues has widely been presumed causative, despite the lack of mechanistic understanding. The present study investigates precisely how AGEs affect mechanical function of the collagen fibril – the supramolecular functional load-bearing unit within most tissues. We employed synchrotron small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and carefully controlled mechanical testing after introducing AGEs in explants of rat-tail tendon using the metabolite methylglyoxal (MGO). Mass spectrometry and collagen fluorescence verified substantial formation of AGEs by the treatment. Associated mechanical changes of the tissue (increased stiffness and failure strength, decreased stress relaxation) were consistent with reports from the literature. SAXS analysis revealed clear changes in molecular deformation within MGO treated fibrils. Underlying the associated increase in tissue strength, we infer from the data that MGO modified collagen fibrils supported higher loads to failure by maintaining an intact quarter-staggered conformation to nearly twice the level of fibril strain in controls. This apparent increase in fibril failure resistance was characterized by reduced side-by-side sliding of collagen molecules within fibrils, reflecting lateral molecular interconnectivity by AGEs. Surprisingly, no change in maximum fibril modulus (2.5 GPa) accompanied the changes in fibril failure behavior, strongly contradicting the widespread assumption that tissue stiffening in ageing and diabetes is directly related to AGE increased fibril stiffness. We conclude that AGEs can alter physiologically relevant failure behavior of collagen fibrils, but that tissue level changes in stiffness likely occur at higher levels of tissue architecture.
We investigated the hypothesis that exogenous collagen cross-linking can augment intact regions of tendon to mitigate mechanical propagation of partial tears. We first screened the low toxicity collagen cross-linkers genipin, methylglyoxal and ultra-violet (UV) light for their ability to augment tendon stiffness and failure load in rat tail tendon fascicles (RTTF). We then investigated crosslinking effects in load bearing equine superficial digital flexor tendons (SDFT). Data indicated that all three cross-linking agents augmented RTTF mechanical properties but reduced native viscoelasticity. In contrast to effects observed in fascicles, methylglyoxal treatment of SDFT detrimentally affected tendon mechanical integrity, and in the case of UV did not alter tendon mechanics. As in the RTTF experiments, genipin cross-linking of SDFT resulted in increased stiffness, higher failure loads and reduced viscoelasticity. Based on this result we assessed the efficacy of genipin in arresting tendon tear propagation in cyclic loading to failure. Genipin cross-linking secondary to a mid-substance biopsy-punch significantly reduced tissue strains, increased elastic modulus and increased resistance to fatigue failure. We conclude that genipin cross-linking of injured tendons holds potential for arresting tendon tear progression, and that implications of the treatment on matrix remodeling in living tendons should now be investigated. ß
scite is a Brooklyn-based organization that helps researchers better discover and understand research articles through Smart Citations–citations that display the context of the citation and describe whether the article provides supporting or contrasting evidence. scite is used by students and researchers from around the world and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.