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In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (5)

Articles by Eve Langelier in JoVE

 JoVE Biology

Preparation of Rat Tail Tendons for Biomechanical and Mechanobiological Studies

1Groupe PERSEUS, Faculté de Génie Département de génie mécanique, Université de Sherbrooke


JoVE 2176

This article describes the experimental procedures used to prepare rat tail tendons for biomechanical and mechanobiological studies. Several features of the main steps in preparation are demonstrated, beginning with extraction, cross-sectional area measurement, rinsing and loading into the bioreactor chamber.

Other articles by Eve Langelier on PubMed

Increasing Strain and Strain Rate Strengthen Transient Stiffness but Weaken the Response to Subsequent Compression for Articular Cartilage in Unconfined Compression

Strain amplitude and strain rate dependent nonlinear behavior and load-induced mechanical property alterations of full-thickness bovine articular cartilage attached to bone were investigated in unconfined compression. A sequence of test compressions of finite deformation (ranging from 0.9% to 34.5% nominal strain) was performed at strain rates ranging from approximately 0.053%/s to 5.8%/s. Peak and equilibrium loads were analyzed to determine strain amplitude and strain rate dependence of linear versus nonlinear responses. The test protocol was designed to reveal changes in mechanical properties due to these finite deformations by interspersing small-amplitude witness ramps of approximately 1.1% deformation and approximately 0.44%/s strain rate between the test ramps ("witness" meaning to assess any mechanical property changes). We found that peak loads displayed high nonlinearity, stiffening with both increasing compression amplitude and more so with increasing strain rate. The response to witness ramps suggested that mechanical weakening occurred when compression amplitude reached 1.9-2.9% strain and beyond, and that weakening was much more significant at higher strain rate. These findings delineate regimes of linear versus nonlinear behavior of cartilage, and indicate the types of loads which can cause mechanical property alterations. Biological implications of this study are that strain amplitude and strain rate dependent stiffening may be essential to bear physiological loads and to protect cells and matrix from mechanical damage. Structural changes reflected by mechanical weakening at small compression could also initiate remodeling or disease processes.

Cross-sectional Profiles and Volume Reconstructions of Soft Tissues Using Laser Beam Measurements

Precise geometric reconstruction is a valuable tool in the study of soft tissues biomechanics. Optical methods have been developed to determine the tissue cross section without mechanical contact with the specimen. An adaptation of the laser micrometer developed by Lee and Woo [ASME J. Biomech. Eng., 110 (2), pp. 110-114]. is proposed in which the laser-collimated beam rotates around and moves along a fixed specimen to reconstruct its cross sections and volume. Beam motion is computer controlled to accelerate data acquisition and improve beam positioning accuracy. It minimizes time-dependent shape modifications and increases global reconstruction precision. The technique is also competent for the measurement of immersed collagen matrices.

Tissue Reorganization in Response to Mechanical Load Increases Functionality

In the rapidly growing field of tissue engineering, the functional properties of tissue substitutes are recognized as being of the utmost importance. The present study was designed to evaluate the effects of static mechanical forces on the functionality of the produced tissue constructs. Living tissue sheets reconstructed by the self-assembly approach from human cells, without the addition of synthetic material or extracellular matrix (ECM), were subjected to mechanical load to induce cell and ECM alignment. In addition, the effects of alignment on the function of substitutes reconstructed from these living tissue sheets were evaluated. Our results show that tissue constructs made from living tissue sheets, in which fibroblasts and ECM were aligned, presented higher mechanical resistance. This was assessed by the modulus of elasticity and ultimate strength as compared with tissue constructs in which components were randomly oriented. Moreover, tissue-engineered vascular media made from a prealigned living tissue sheet, produced with smooth muscle cells, possessed greater contractile capacity compared with those produced from living tissue sheets that were not prealigned. These results show that the mechanical force generated by cells during tissue organization is an asset for tissue component alignment. Therefore, this work demonstrates a means to improve the functionality (mechanical and vasocontractile properties) of tissues reconstructed by tissue engineering by taking advantage of the biomechanical forces generated by cells under static strain.

Relative Contributions of Mechanical Degradation, Enzymatic Degradation, and Repair of the Extracellular Matrix on the Response of Tendons when Subjected to Under- and Over- Mechanical Stimulations in Vitro

Tendon response to mechanical loading results in either homeostasis, improvement, or degeneration of tissue condition. In an effort to better understand the development of tendinopathies, this study investigated the mechanical and structural responses of tendons subjected to under- and over-stimulations (1.2% and 1.8% strain respectively, 1 Hz). The objective was to examine three sub-processes of tendon response: mechanical degradation, enzymatic degradation, and repair of the extracellular matrix. We subjected rat tail tendons to a 10-day stimulation protocol with four periods of 6 h each day: 30 min of stimulation and 5 h 30 min of rest. To investigate the contribution of the three sub-processes, we controlled the contribution of the cells through variations in the nutrient and protease inhibitor content in the in vitro solutions. Using nondestructive cyclic tests, we evaluated the daily changes in the peak stress. To assess structural changes, we carried out microscopic analyses at the end of the study period. We observed that the relative contributions of the sub-processes differed according to the stimulation amplitude. With over-stimulation of tendons immersed in DMEM, we succeeded in reducing enzymatic degradation and increasing peak stress. In under-stimulation, the addition of protease inhibitors was required to obtain the same result.

Low Stress Tendon Fatigue is a Relatively Rapid Process in the Context of Overuse Injuries

To stimulate healing and prevent tendinosis through optimized physical exercise, it is important to elucidate the tendon response to repetitive mechanical loading. However, the study of this response is challenging due to complex cell-matrix interactions. In an initial approximation, the authors examined tendon mechanical response only, and did not consider cellular activity. The authors investigated the hypothesis that mechanical degradation occurs relatively rapidly (< 24 h) even at very low stress levels. The authors subjected rat tail tendons to mechanical loadings oscillating between 0 and 1.5 MPa up to one of three fatigue levels: 4% strain, 8% strain, or rupture. Using non-destructive mechanical tests, changes in tendon strain and compliance over the entire fatigue testing period were evaluated. Using microscopy techniques, the structural evidence of mechanical degradation was examined. The changes in tendon strain and compliance progressed nonlinearly and accelerated before rupture which took place around the 15-h mark. Histological analyses revealed a higher degree of alteration in the collagen network at increased fatigue levels. At rupture, local zones of damage with low fibril density were evident. These results imply that a repair process must act rapidly at critical sites; otherwise, enzymatic degradation could cause further damage in the manner of a vicious cycle.

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