Adaptational responses of the human Achilles tendon by modulation of the applied cyclic strain magnitude

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Tendons are able to remodel their mechanical and morphological properties in response to mechanical loading. However, there is little information about the effects of controlled modulation in cyclic strain magnitude applied to the tendon on the adaptation of tendon's properties in vivo. The present study investigated whether the magnitude of the mechanical load induced as cyclic strain applied to the Achilles tendon may have a threshold in order to trigger adaptation effects on tendon mechanical and morphological properties. Twenty-one adults (experimental group, N=11; control group, N=10) participated in the study. The participants of the experimental group exercised one leg at low-magnitude tendon strain (2.85+/-0.99%) and the other leg at high-magnitude tendon strain (4.55+/-1.38%) of similar frequency and volume. After 14 weeks of exercise intervention we found a decrease in strain at a given tendon force, an increase in tendon-aponeurosis stiffness and tendon elastic modulus and a region-specific hypertrophy of the Achilles tendon only in the leg exercised at high strain magnitude. These findings provide evidence of the existence of a threshold or set-point at the applied strain magnitude at which the transduction of the mechanical stimulus may influence the tensional homeostasis of the tendons. The results further show that the mechanical load exerted on the Achilles tendon during the low-strain-magnitude exercise is not a sufficient stimulus for triggering further adaptation effects on the Achilles tendon than the stimulus provided by the mechanical load applied during daily activities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of experimental biology
Volume210
Issue numberPt 15
Pages (from-to)2743-2753
Number of pages11
ISSN0022-0949
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01.08.2007

ID: 18469

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