Role of moderate exercising on Achilles tendon collagen crimping patterns and proteoglycans

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In this study, the morphological and morphometric changes in the collagen crimping pattern of Achilles tendon and metabolism/expression of tenocytes explanted from tendons of running (RUN) and sedentary (SED) rats were investigated to assess the effects of 12 weeks moderate running exercise. The number, the top angle width and the base length of each crimp in three different regions (proximal, central and distal) of RUN and SED tendons were measured with a polarized light microscope. The most significant morphometric differences in the crimps were detectable in the central region of the RUN tendons. In this region, crimps were fewer, larger and more flattened than those of other regions as a consequence of a functional adaptation of extracellular matrix to running, in order to increase tendon stiffness and force transmission efficiency. Conversely, the top angle width of the crimps reduced in proximal and distal regions of the RUN tendons, suggesting that these crimps might act as more reactive mechanical springs, able to store and improve the release of the stored strain energy in most loaded regions. Tenocytes explanted from Achilles tendons of both RUN and SED groups were cultured. Running influenced tenocytes which showed a significant increase in collagen type-I synthesis and proteoglycans production, suggesting enhancement of the loading transmission efficiency and facilitate inter-fibril and inter-fiber sliding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-274
Number of pages8
JournalConnective Tissue Research
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Achilles tendon
  • Crimps
  • Running
  • Tendon extracellular matrix
  • Tenocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rheumatology


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