Sarcomere lengths have been a crucial outcome measure for understanding and explaining basic muscle properties and muscle function. Sarcomere lengths for a given muscle are typically measured at a single spot, often in the mid-belly of the muscle, and at a given muscle length. It is then assumed implicitly that the sarcomere length measured at this single spot represents the sarcomere lengths at other locations within the muscle, and force-length, force-velocity, and power-velocity properties of muscles are often implied based on these single sarcomere length measurements. Although, intuitively appealing, this assumption is yet to be supported by systematic evidence. The objective of this study was to measure sarcomere lengths at defined locations along and across an intact muscle, at different muscle lengths. Using second harmonic generation (SHG) imaging technique, sarcomere patterns in passive mouse tibialis anterior (TA) were imaged in a non-contact manner at five selected locations (“proximal,” “distal,” “middle,” “medial,” and “lateral” TA sites) and at three different lengths encompassing the anatomical range of motion of the TA. We showed that sarcomere lengths varied substantially within small regions of the muscle and also for different sites across the entire TA. Also, sarcomere elongations with muscle lengthening were non-uniform across the muscle, with the highest sarcomere stretches occurring near the myotendinous junction. We conclude that muscle mechanics derived from sarcomere length measured from a small region of a muscle may not well-represent the sarcomere length and associated functional properties of the entire muscle.
Spectra of the nitrous oxide dimer (N2O)2 are studied in the region of the N2O nu1 fundamental band around 2230 cm-1 using a rapid-scan tunable diode laser spectrometer to probe a pulsed supersonic jet expansion. The previously known band of the centrosymmetric nonpolar dimer is analyzed in improved detail, and a new band is observed and assigned to a polar isomer of (N2O)2. This polar form of the dimer has a slipped parallel structure, rather similar to the slipped antiparallel structure of the nonpolar form but with a slightly larger intermolecular distance. The accurate rotational parameters determined here should enable a microwave observation of the polar N2O dimer. The need for a modern ab initio investigation of the N2O-N2O intermolecular potential energy surface is emphasized.
The collagenous structure of the knee menisci is integral to the mechanical integrity of the tissue and the knee joint. The tie-fibre structure of the tissue has largely been neglected, despite previous studies demonstrating its correlation with radial stiffness. This study has evaluated the structure of the tie-fibres of bovine menisci using 2D and 3D microscopy techniques. Standard collagen and proteoglycan (PG) staining and 2D light microscopy techniques were conducted. For the first time, the collagenous structure of the menisci was evaluated using 3D, second harmonic generation (SHG) microscopy. This technique facilitated the imaging of collagen structure in thick sections (50-100 μm). Imaging identified that tie-fibres of the menisci arborize from the outer margin of the meniscus toward the inner tip. This arborization is associated with the structural arrangement of the circumferential fibres. SHG microscopy has definitively demonstrated the 3D organization of tie-fibres in both sheets and bundles. The hierarchy of the structure is related to the organization of circumferential fascicles. Large tie-fibre sheets bifurcate into smaller sheets to surround circumferential fascicles of decreasing size. The tie-fibres emanate from the lamellar layer that appears to surround the entire meniscus. At the tibial and femoral surfaces these tie-fibre sheets branch perpendicularly into the meniscal body. The relationship between tie-fibres and blood vessels in the menisci was also observed in this study. Tie-fibre sheets surround the blood vessels and an associated PG-rich region. This subunit of the menisci has not previously been described. The size of tie-fibre sheets surrounding the vessels appeared to be associated with the size of blood vessel. These structural findings have implications in understanding the mechanics of the menisci. Further, refinement of the complex structure of the tie-fibres is important in understanding the consequences of injury and disease in the menisci. The framework of meniscus architecture also defines benchmarks for the development of tissue-engineered replacements in the future.
A new infrared band at 2069.3 cm-1 is observed and assigned to the long-anticipated polar isomer of the OCS dimer, helping to explain apparent discrepancies among earlier studies. The data reported here should enable direct observation of the microwave spectrum of polar (OCS)2 and motivate new theoretical works on the energetics of OCS dimer isomers and interconversion energy barriers.
The menisci are intricately organized structures that perform many tasks in the knee. We review their structure and function and introduce new data about their tibial and femoral surfaces. As the femur and tibia approach each other when the knee is bearing load, circumferential tension develops in the menisci, enabling the transmission of compressive load between the femoral and tibial cartilage layers. A low shear modulus is necessary for the tissue to adapt its shape to the changing radius of the femur as that bone moves relative to the tibia during joint articulation. The organization of the meniscus facilitates its functions. In the outer region of the menisci, intertwined collagen fibrils, fibers, and fascicles with predominantly circumferential orientation are prevalent; these structures are held together by radial tie fibers and sheets. Toward the inner portion of the menisci, there is more proteoglycan and the structure becomes more cartilage-like. The transition between these structural forms is gradual and seamless. The flexible roots, required for rigid body motion of the menisci, meld with both the tibia and the outer portion of the menisci to maintain continuity for resistance to the circumferential tension. Our new data demonstrate that the femoral and tibial surfaces of the menisci are structurally analogous to the surfaces of articular cartilage, enabling consistent modes of lubrication and load transfer to occur at the interfacing surfaces throughout motion. The structure and function of the menisci are thus shown to be strongly related to one another: form clearly complements function.
We developed a novel testing system that allows quantification of joint loading and permits analysis of changes in total protein and PRG4 contents in joint fluid of intact knees in live mice. A sequence of 15 repeat, isometric muscular contractions of "low" intensity (less than 50% of the maximal isometric muscular force), and "high" intensity (greater than 55% of maximal) were applied repeatedly (up to five times with a 15 min rest between contractions) to the mouse knee. Increases in knee joint loading were accompanied with significant increases in total protein (p<0.0001) and PRG4 concentrations in the synovial fluid. Total protein and PRG4 concentrations decreased with repeated "high" intensity loading. However, the addition of cell secretion inhibitors to the knee prior to muscular loading resulted in PRG4 levels that remained below the detection limit for all loading conditions. These results suggest that changes in synovial fluid proteins and PRG4 concentrations upon joint loading are mediated by cells within the joint, and that these changes may be used as quantitative indicators for the intensity and duration of acute joint loading, and might serve as a powerful clinical tool to assess the effectiveness of rehabilitation and prevention exercise programs.
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