Patellar Tendon Stiffness Is Not Reduced During Pregnancy.
ABSTRACT: It is believed that hormonal changes during pregnancy lead to an increased compliance in ligaments and tendons, increasing the risk to suffer from connective tissue injuries particularly during exercise. While the laxity of the pelvic ligaments may increase to facilitate childbirth, to our knowledge no study has ever investigated the mechanical properties of human tendons in different stages of pregnancy. Thus, the purpose of our longitudinal study was to investigate the mechanical properties of the patellar tendon in different stages of pregnancy and postpartum. Nineteen pregnant women (30 ± 4 years) and 11 non-pregnant controls (28 ± 3 years) performed maximum isometric knee extension contractions on a dynamometer. Muscle strength and mechanical properties of the patellar tendon were determined integrating ultrasound, kinematic, and electromyographic measurements. In pregnant women, measurements were performed in the 16 ± 4th week of pregnancy (EP), the 29 ± 4th week of pregnancy (LP) and 32 ± 9th weeks postpartum (PP). On average, muscle strength as well as patellar tendon stiffness, force, and relative strain did not change during pregnancy and did not differ from non-pregnant controls. Tendon length measured at 90° knee flexion continuously increased during and after pregnancy (tendon length PP>EP; PP>controls). Our results indicate that patellar tendon stiffness is not universally affected by pregnancy. We found no evidence to support the often stated assumption that tendons would become more compliant during pregnancy. However, variability between individuals as well as the progressive increase in tendon rest length during and after pregnancy and its implications on injury risk need to be further examined.
Project description:In comparison to extraarticular ligaments and tendons, the intraarticular ligaments such as the anterior and posterior cruciates exhibit different biochemical, biomechanical, and viscoelastic properties and most importantly, differential abilities to heal after surgical repair. Little is known about the underlying basis for these differences, in large measure due to the paucity of molecular markers distinguishing different classes of tendons and ligaments. To date, there has been no systematic analysis of gene expression differences between different types of connective tissues. We used Affymetrix expression arrays to analyze the differences in gene expression levels between the anterior cruciate, posterior cruciate, and medial collateral ligaments, the patellar and Achilles tendons and the synovium. We have identified five clusters of gene cohorts displaying similar expression patterns. These clusters group into three categories including: (1) genes that are strongly expressed in all connective tissues compared to the synovium control tissue; (2) genes that distinguish intraarticular connective tissues from extraarticular connective tissues; and (3) a group of genes expressed in common by the patellar tendon and the synovium. Our analysis identifies a new marker of tendons and ligaments (fibin2), demonstrates molecular diversity between subtypes of tendons and ligaments, and indicates that the primary molecular subdivision among dense regular connective tissues is intra- versus extraarticular rather than ligament versus tendon.
Project description:Tendons/ligaments insert into bone via a transitional structure, the enthesis, which is susceptible to injury and difficult to repair. Fibrocartilaginous entheses contain fibrocartilage in their transitional zone, part of which is mineralized. Mineral-associated proteins within this zone have not been adequately characterized. Members of the Small Integrin Binding Ligand N-linked Glycoprotein (SIBLING) family are acidic phosphoproteins expressed in mineralized tissues. Here we show that two SIBLING proteins, bone sialoprotein (BSP) and osteopontin (OPN), are present in the mouse enthesis. Histological analyses indicate that the calcified zone of the quadriceps tendon enthesis is longer in Bsp(-/-) mice, however no difference is apparent in the supraspinatus tendon enthesis. In an analysis of mineral content within the calcified zone, micro-CT and Raman spectroscopy reveal that the mineral content in the calcified fibrocartilage of the quadriceps tendon enthesis are similar between wild type and Bsp(-/-) mice. Mechanical testing of the patellar tendon shows that while the tendons fail under similar loads, the Bsp(-/-) patellar tendon is 7.5% larger in cross sectional area than wild type tendons, resulting in a 16.5% reduction in failure stress. However, Picrosirius Red staining shows no difference in collagen organization. Data collected here indicate that BSP is present in the calcified fibrocartilage of murine entheses and suggest that BSP plays a regulatory role in this structure, influencing the growth of the calcified fibrocartilage in addition to the weakening of the tendon mechanical properties. Based on the phenotype of the Bsp(-/-) mouse enthesis, and the known in vitro functional properties of the protein, BSP may be a useful therapeutic molecule in the reattachment of tendons and ligaments to bone.
Project description:Prior studies have analyzed growth of musculoskeletal tissues between species or across body segments; however, little research has assessed the differences in similar tissues within a single joint. Here we studied changes in the length and cross-sectional area of four ligaments and tendons, (anterior cruciate ligament, patellar tendon, medial collateral ligament, lateral collateral ligament) in the tibiofemoral joint of female Yorkshire pigs through high-field magnetic resonance imaging throughout growth. Tissue lengths increased by 4- to 5-fold from birth to late adolescence across the tissues while tissue cross-sectional area increased by 10-20-fold. The anterior cruciate ligament and lateral collateral ligament showed allometric growth favoring change in length over change in cross-sectional area while the patellar tendon and medial collateral ligament grow in an isometric manner. Additionally, changes in the length and cross-sectional area of the anterior cruciate ligament did not increase as much as in the other ligaments and tendon of interest. Overall, these findings suggest that musculoskeletal soft tissue morphometry can vary within tissues of similar structure and within a single joint during post-natal growth.
Project description:Vascular function and angiogenesis are regulated by vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF). The purpose of this preliminary study was to address the following questions: Is VEGF expression in the patellar tendon more prevalent in patients with patellar tendinopathy than in individuals with normal, pain-free patellar tendons? Which cell populations express VEGF in normal and tendinopathic tendon? Is there a difference in symptom duration between VEGF+ and VEGF- tendons? We collected patellar tendon tissue from 22 patients undergoing open débridement of the patellar tendon and from 10 patients undergoing intramedullary nailing of the tibia. VEGF expression was assessed immunohistochemically. Relevant inflammatory and repair cell types were immunolabeled. VEGF expression was absent from control tendons, but was present in a subset of patients with histopathological evidence of angiofibroblastic tendinosis. VEGF was expressed in the intimal layer of tendon vessels, but was absent in other cell types. Patients demonstrating VEGF expression in the patellar tendon had a shorter symptom duration (12 +/- 7.8 months) than patients with no detectable VEGF (32.8 +/- 23.5 months). VEGF may contribute to the vascular hyperplasia that is a cardinal feature of symptomatic tendinosis, particularly in cases with more recent onset.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The incidence of rupture of the quadriceps or patellar tendon s is low, especially that of bilateral quadriceps tendon rupture, and it is generally considered a complication secondary to chronic systemic disorders. We report two rare cases of simultaneous bilateral tendon rupture affecting the extensor function of the knee in patients with chronic kidney disease who have been treated with long-term haemodialysis. CASE PRESENTATION:Two young males with a history of chronic kidney disease who were being treated with long-term haemodialysis presented to our hospital with clinical signs of disruption of the extensor mechanism of the knee. One patient was diagnosed with bilateral quadriceps tendon rupture, and the other patient had bilateral patellar tendon rupture. They underwent surgical repair of the tendons, and their knees were actively mobilized during physiotherapy. CONCLUSION:Bilateral quadriceps or patellar tendons rupture is a rare occurrence in patients with chronic kidney disease who are being treated with long-term haemodialysis. Timely surgical treatment and scientific physiotherapy can lead to good recovery of knee joint function.
Project description:Introduction:The effect of chronic patellar tendinopathy on tissue function and integrity is currently unclear and underinvestigated. The aim of this cohort comparison was to examine morphological, material, and mechanical properties of the patellar tendon and to extend earlier findings by measuring the ability to store and return elastic energy in symptomatic tendons. Methods:Seventeen patients with chronic (>3 months, VISA-P < 80), inferior pole patellar tendinopathy (24 ± 4 years; male = 12, female = 5) were carefully matched to controls (25 ± 3 years) for training status, pattern, and history of loading of the patellar tendon. Individual knee extension force, patellar tendon stiffness, stress, strain, Young's modulus, hysteresis, and energy storage capacity, were obtained with combined dynamometry, ultrasonography, magnetic resonance imaging, and electromyography. Results:Anthropometric parameters did not differ between groups. VISA-P scores ranged from 28 to 78 points, and symptoms had lasted from 10 to 120 months before testing. Tendon proximal cross-sectional area was 61% larger in the patellar tendinopathy group than in the control group. There were no differences between groups in maximal voluntary isometric knee extension torque (p = 0.216; d < -0.31) nor in tensile tendon force produced during isometric ramp contractions (p = 0.185; d < -0.34). Similarly, tendon strain (p = 0.634; d < 0.12), hysteresis (p = 0.461; d < 0.18), and strain energy storage (p = 0.656; d < 0.36) did not differ between groups. However, patellar tendon stiffness (-19%; p = 0.007; d < -0.74), stress (-27%; p< 0.002; d < -0.90) and Young's modulus (-32%; p = 0.001; d < -0.94) were significantly lower in tendinopathic patients compared to healthy controls. Discussion:In this study, we observed lower stiffness in affected tendons. However, despite the substantial structural and histological changes occurring with tendinopathy, the tendon capacity to store and dissipate energy did not differ significantly.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Sensory nerve endings in ligaments play an important role for the proprioceptive function. Clinical trials show that the sense of body position does not fully recover in the knee joint after reconstructive surgery of the ruptured anterior cruciate ligament. The aim of this study is to identify sensory corpuscles in autogenous and allogenous transplants of the ligament and to compare their quantity between the used allografts and autografts. METHODS:Thirty-three patients were included in this study. Three patellar tendon allografts, 14 patellar tendon autografts and 12 semitendinosus autografts were harvested during revision surgery after traumatic rerupture of the graft. The control consisted of 4 healthy anterior cruciate ligaments after fresh rupture. After haematoxylin staining, immunohistochemical analysis was performed using antibodies against S100, p75 and PGP9.5. Microscopical examination was carried out, and the number of mechanoreceptors was counted. Statistical analysis was performed using the Mann-Whitney U test. RESULTS:Two types of mechanoreceptors were identified in each graft: Ruffini corpuscles and free nerve endings. The number of Ruffini corpuscles per square centimeter was the highest in the control. Comparing the grafts, the highest number of receptors could be detected in the semitendinosus autograft. The amount of free nerve endings was higher in the semitendinosus and patellar tendon autografts than in the control; the allografts showed the lowest number of receptors. With increasing time after reconstruction, the number of both types of receptors showed a decrease in the semitendinosus graft, whereas it increased in the patellar tendon graft and allograft. The number of mechanoreceptors in the semitendinosus and patellar tendon graft decreased over time after graft-failure, whereas it increased slightly in the allograft. CONCLUSION:This study was the first to identify mechanoreceptors in human transplants of the anterior cruciate ligament. The partial increase in the number of receptors over time after reconstruction could indicate a reinnervation of the grafts.
Project description:Balancing of the joint gap in extension and flexion is a prerequisite for success of a total knee arthroplasty. The joint gap is influenced by patellar position. We therefore hypothesized the state of the knee extensor mechanism (including the patellar tendon) would influence the joint gap. In 20 knees undergoing posterior-stabilized type total knee arthroplasties, we measured the joint gap and the patellar tendon strain from 0 degrees to 135 degrees flexion with the femoral component in position. When the patella was reduced, the joint gap was decreased at 90 degrees and 135 degrees (by 1.9 mm and 5.5 mm, respectively) compared with the gap with the patella everted. The patellar tendon strain increased with knee flexion. Patellar tendon strain at 90 degrees flexion correlated with the joint gap difference with the patella in everted and reduced positions. This suggests that in addition to the collateral ligaments, the knee extensor mechanism may have an influence on the joint gap. Therefore, accounting for extensor mechanism tightness may be important in achieving the optimal joint gap balance during total knee arthroplasty.Level IV, therapeutic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
Project description:PURPOSE: The efficacy of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) in the treatment and healing of chronic tendinopathy through stimulation of cell proliferation and total collagen production has been demonstrated by both in vitro and in vivo studies. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of ultrasound (US)-guided autologous PRP injections in patellar and Achilles tendinopathy. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Autologous PRP was injected under US-guidance into the Achilles and patellar tendons (30 Achilles tendons, 28 patellar tendons) in 48 prospectively selected patients (30 males, 18 females, mean age 38 ± 16 years, range 20-61 years). All patients were previously evaluated according to the Victoria Institute of Sport Assessment (VISA) scale, which assessed pain and activity level, and they all underwent US of the tendon before treatment and at follow-up after 20 days and 6 months. Statistical analysis was performed with Chi-square and Wilcoxon tests. RESULTS: 20 days after PRP injection the patients presented a non-significant improvement of clinical symptoms. At the 6-month follow-up VISA score increased from a mean value of 57-75.5 (p < .01). US evaluation revealed a reduction of hypoechoic areas in 26 tendons (p < .01) associated with a widespread improvement of fibrillar echotexture of the tendon and reduced hypervascularity at power Doppler. CONCLUSION: PRP injection in patellar and Achilles tendinopathy results in a significant and lasting improvement of clinical symptoms and leads to recovery of the tendon matrix potentially helping to prevent degenerative lesions. US-guidance allows PRP injection into the tendon with great accuracy.
Project description:The aging population is at an increased risk of tendon injury and tendinopathy. Elucidating the molecular basis of tendon aging is crucial to understanding the age-related changes in structure and function in this vulnerable tissue. In this study, the structural and functional features of tendon aging are investigated. In addition, the roles of decorin and biglycan in the aging process were analyzed using transgenic mice at both mature and aged time points. Our hypothesis is that the increase in tendon injuries in the aging population is the result of altered structural properties that reduce the biomechanical function of the tendon and consequently increase susceptibility to injury. Decorin and biglycan are important regulators of tendon structure and therefore, we further hypothesized that decreased function in aged tendons is partly the result of altered decorin and biglycan expression. Biomechanical analyses of mature (day 150) and aged (day 570) patellar tendons revealed deteriorating viscoelastic properties with age. Histology and polarized light microscopy demonstrated decreased cellularity, alterations in tenocyte shape, and reduced collagen fiber alignment in the aged tendons. Ultrastructural analysis of fibril diameter distributions indicated an altered distribution in aged tendons with an increase of large diameter fibrils. Aged wild type tendons maintained expression of decorin which was associated with the structural and functional changes seen in aged tendons. Aged patellar tendons exhibited altered and generally inferior properties across multiple assays. However, decorin-null tendons exhibited significantly decreased effects of aging compared to the other genotypes. The amelioration of the functional deficits seen in the absence of decorin in aged tendons was associated with altered tendon fibril structure. Fibril diameter distributions in the decorin-null aged tendons were comparable to those observed in the mature wild type tendon with the absence of the subpopulation containing large diameter fibrils. Collectively, our findings provide evidence for age-dependent alterations in tendon architecture and functional activity, and further show that lack of stromal decorin attenuates these changes.