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Title: Investigating the role of elastin in tendon function
Author: da Conceicao Godinho, Marta Sofia
ISNI:       0000 0004 7962 4907
Awarding Body: Queen Mary, University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 2019
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Tendon is composed of fascicles bound together by interfascicular matrix (IFM). Energy storing tendons are more elastic and extensible than positional tendons; behaviour provided by specialisation of the IFM to enable repeated interfascicular sliding and recoil. With ageing, IFM becomes stiffer and less fatigue resistant, potentially explaining why older tendons become more injury-prone. Recent data indicates enrichment of elastin within the IFM, but this has yet to be quantified and the role of elastin in IFM mechanics remains unknown. This thesis aims to quantify elastin content, organisation and fragmentation, and its influence on tendon mechanics, in both fascicular matrix (FM) and IFM of functionally distinct tendons, and how this changes with ageing. It was hypothesised that elastin is mainly localised to the IFM of energy storing tendons and becomes increasingly disorganised with ageing. Further, it was hypothesised that elastin depletion affects the mechanical properties of IFM, specifically fatigue resistance and recoil ability, but will not affect fascicles. Biochemical analyses and immunohistochemical techniques were used to determine elastin content and organisation in young and old equine energy storing and positional tendons. Elastase treatments were conducted in young and old IFM and fascicle samples from energy storing tendons to deplete elastin, after which failure, fatigue and recovery mechanical tests were performed, comparing IFM and fascicle mechanical properties before and after elastase treatment. Supporting the hypothesis, elastin localises to the IFM of energy storing tendons, reducing in quantity and becoming increasingly disorganised with ageing. Further, elastin depletion did not affect fascicle mechanics, but lead to reduced mechanical properties and fatigue resistance in the IFM. These changes may contribute to the increased injury risk in aged energy storing tendons. Full understanding of the processes leading to loss of elastin and its disorganisation with ageing, may aid in the development of treatments to prevent age related tendinopathy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Institute of Bioengineering
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Engineering and Materials Science ; Elastins