Tendons transmit forces generated from muscle to bone making joint movements possible. Tendon collagen has a complex supramolecular structure forming many hierarchical levels of association; its main functional unit is the collagen fibril forming fibers and fascicles. Since tendons are enclosed by loose connective sheaths in continuity with muscle sheaths, it is likely that tendon sheaths could play a role in absorbing/transmitting the forces created by muscle contraction. In this study rat Achilles tendons were passively stretched in vivo to be observed at polarized light microscope (PLM), scanning electron microscope (SEM) and transmission electron microscope (TEM). At PLM tendon collagen fibers in relaxed rat Achilles tendons ran straight and parallel, showing a periodic crimp pattern. Similarly tendon sheaths showed apparent crimps. At higher magnification SEM and TEM revealed that in each tendon crimp large and heterogeneous collagen fibrils running straight and parallel suddenly changed their direction undergoing localized and variable modifications. These fibril modifications were named fibrillar crimps. Tendon sheaths displayed small and uniform fibrils running parallel with a wavy course without any ultrastructural aspects of crimp. Since in passively stretched Achilles tendons fibrillar crimps were still observed, it is likely that during the tendon stretching, and presumably during the tendon elongation in muscle contraction, the fibrillar crimp may be the real structural component of the tendon crimp acting as shock absorber. The peritendinous sheath can be stretched as tendon, but is not actively involved in the mechanism of shock absorber as the fibrillar crimp. The different functional behaviour of tendons and sheaths may be due to the different structural and molecular arrangement of their fibrils.

Tendon crimps and peritendinous tissues responding to tensional forces.

FRANCHI, MARCO;QUARANTA, MARILISA;DE PASQUALE, VIVIANA;MACCIOCCA, MARIA;ORSINI, ESTER;TRIRE', ALESSANDRA;OTTANI, VITTORIA;RUGGERI, ALESSANDRO
2007

Abstract

Tendons transmit forces generated from muscle to bone making joint movements possible. Tendon collagen has a complex supramolecular structure forming many hierarchical levels of association; its main functional unit is the collagen fibril forming fibers and fascicles. Since tendons are enclosed by loose connective sheaths in continuity with muscle sheaths, it is likely that tendon sheaths could play a role in absorbing/transmitting the forces created by muscle contraction. In this study rat Achilles tendons were passively stretched in vivo to be observed at polarized light microscope (PLM), scanning electron microscope (SEM) and transmission electron microscope (TEM). At PLM tendon collagen fibers in relaxed rat Achilles tendons ran straight and parallel, showing a periodic crimp pattern. Similarly tendon sheaths showed apparent crimps. At higher magnification SEM and TEM revealed that in each tendon crimp large and heterogeneous collagen fibrils running straight and parallel suddenly changed their direction undergoing localized and variable modifications. These fibril modifications were named fibrillar crimps. Tendon sheaths displayed small and uniform fibrils running parallel with a wavy course without any ultrastructural aspects of crimp. Since in passively stretched Achilles tendons fibrillar crimps were still observed, it is likely that during the tendon stretching, and presumably during the tendon elongation in muscle contraction, the fibrillar crimp may be the real structural component of the tendon crimp acting as shock absorber. The peritendinous sheath can be stretched as tendon, but is not actively involved in the mechanism of shock absorber as the fibrillar crimp. The different functional behaviour of tendons and sheaths may be due to the different structural and molecular arrangement of their fibrils.
Franchi M; Quaranta M; De Pasquale V; Macciocca M; Orsini E; Trirè A; Ottani V; Ruggeri A.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/47220
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