Stress shielding of patellar tendon: effect on small-diameter collagen fibrils in a rabbit model, 2003

Topics: Stress shielding · Patellar tendon · Collagen fibril diameter · Ultrastructure

Authors: Tokifumi Majima, Kazunori Yasuda, Takamasa Tsuchida, Kunio Tanaka, Kiyoshi Miyakawa, Akio Minami, Kozaburo Hayashi


The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of stress shielding on the microstructure and ultrastructure of the patellar tendon using 40 mature female Japanese white rabbits. The patellar tendon was completely released from stress by drawing the patella toward the tibial tubercle with a stainless steel wire installed between them. Microstructurally, stress shielding for 3 and 6 weeks increased the number of cells approximately fivefold, to that of the control tendon. Collagen bundles were less well oriented in the stress-shielded tendon than in the control. Ultrastructurally, small collagen fibrils with a diameter of less than 90 nm increased in the stress-shielded tendon. The median collagen fibril diameter in 6-week stress-shielded tendon was significantly smaller ( P

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