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Title: The relationship between tendon morphology and function
Author: Smith, Tracey Jane
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2006
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Tendons have specific functions which are important in the role they play in locomotion. These specific functions are also important to consider when reconstructing or repairing damaged tendons to ensure restoration of normal physiological characteristics. The aim of this project is to correlate molecular and morphological characteristics of tendons with their mechanical properties which relate to physiological function. The results showed that the elastic modulus (material stiffness) was significantly different for the different tendons and ligaments in the distal part of the equine forelimb. The elastic modulus showed a significant positive correlation with the mass average collagen fibril diameter (MAD) for the different structures. The superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) showed a wide range of elastic moduli values in different animals and these showed a significant positive correlation with the MAD in the SDFT. The matrix composition also correlated with material properties water content showed a significant negative correlation with elastic modulus and a significant positive correlation with glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content. Thus tendons composed of a stiffer material have larger collagen fibril diameters which are associated with lower water and GAG contents. These characteristics should be considered when choosing suitable replacements in tendon reconstruction procedures. Epidemiological studies have shown that the incidence of partial rupture to the SDFT increases with increasing horse age. Correspondingly, age related changes were found in the properties of the equine SDFT. Elastic modulus decreased significantly with increasing horse age and both fascicle cross sectional area and fibril diameters decreased significantly with increasing age in the central core of the SDFT, the site where degeneration and subsequent injury most commonly occurs. Thus, as the horse ages it shows an increase in the proportion of small diameter collagen fibrils and a reduction in elastic modulus (material stiffness) in the SDFT which may predispose the tendon to injury.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available