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Nanostructural and Nanomechanical Responses of Collagen Fibrils in the Collagenase-Induced Achilles Tendinitis Rat Model

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Achilles tendons are vulnerable to acute or chronic injuries that lead to inflammation. We investigated nanostructural and nanomechanical changes in collagen fibrils from rat Achilles tendons over a period of 9 weeks after injury using atomic force microscopy (AFM). To evaluate the nanostructural changes in Achilles tendons, we measured the diameter and D-banding of collagen fibrils by AFM. And the adhesion forces, which were related to cross-linking of collagen, were calculated from the retraction process of a force–distance curve. We successfully observed the time course of changes in collagen fibrils during healing using AFM. The diameters and D-banding in healed tendons were similar to those of uninjured tendons at 9 weeks after injury, but the adhesion forces remained different from those of uninjured tendons. Our AFM results depicted the minute changes in Achilles tendon surface by natural healing quite well, even drawbacks to naturally healed tendon. Understanding changes in collagen cross-linking and structure while healing will lead to better understanding of healing mechanisms and subsequent improvements in treatment. And AFM can be applied as powerful tool to evaluate structural and property changes in collagen fibrils before and after injury and/or treatment in Achilles tendon.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2013

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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