Tendons, such as the Achilles, connect muscle to bone, and are loaded repeatedly during movement. When exposed to particularly high loads, this can cause injury in some individuals. The risk of injury increases with age, but scientists have never fully understood why.
Tendon injury is common in horses as well as humans, and the team, working together with scientists from the University of Liverpool, University College London and the University of East Anglia, used tendons from horses already deceased to understand injury risk, and demonstrate the mechanism in action.
The research team found that fascicles – the subunit that makes up tendons – are coiled like a spring, or helix. They have shown that the helix structure enables tendons to stretch and recover, with results suggesting that damage to the helix stops the tendon working properly.
“The helical shape of the fascicles seems to be critical in maintaining tendon elasticity,” explains co-author Dr Hazel Screen, a Reader in medical engineering at Queen Mary’s School of Engineering and Materials Science.“Repetitive loading causes the fascicles to unwind and be less effective, triggering them to become damaged or leading to injury.”
The team also showed how ageing affects the helix.
This work was funded by the Horserace Betting Levy Board and is published in the Royal Society journal Interface.
‘Fascicles from energy-storing tendons show an age-specific response to cyclic fatigue loading’ is published in the Royal Society Journal Interface on Wednesday 8 January 2014.
For more information, a copy of the paper or to arrange interviews with the authors, please contact:Neha Okhandiar
The College is unique amongst London's universities in being able to offer a completely integrated residential campus, with a 2,000-bed award-winning Student Village on its Mile End campus.
Neha Okhandiar | Queen Mary University of London
Fiber optic biosensor-integrated microfluidic chip to detect glucose levels
29.04.2016 | The Optical Society
Got good fat?
27.04.2016 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute Stuttgart have developed self-propelled tiny ‘microbots’ that can remove lead or organic pollution from contaminated water.
Working with colleagues in Barcelona and Singapore, Samuel Sánchez’s group used graphene oxide to make their microscale motors, which are able to adsorb lead...
Neutron scattering and computational modeling have revealed unique and unexpected behavior of water molecules under extreme confinement that is unmatched by any known gas, liquid or solid states.
In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory describe a new tunneling state of...
Honeycomb structures as the basic building block for industrial applications presented using holo pyramid
Researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) will introduce their latest developments in the field of bionic lightweight design at Hannover Messe from 25...
Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Linköping University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). This work is about avoiding costly and unstable fullerenes.
Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Linköping University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences...
As one of the leading R&D partners in the development of surface technologies and organic electronics, the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP will be exhibiting its recent achievements in vacuum coating of ultra-thin glass at SVC TechCon 2016 (Booth 846), taking place in Indianapolis / USA from May 9 – 13.
Fraunhofer FEP is an experienced partner for technological developments, known for testing the limits of new materials and for optimization of those materials...
27.04.2016 | Event News
15.04.2016 | Event News
12.04.2016 | Event News
29.04.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
29.04.2016 | Health and Medicine
29.04.2016 | Life Sciences