Funded by the Rosetrees Trust and using X-ray diffraction techniques at the Diamond Light Source, researchers showed that mechanical strains in collagen molecules and collagen fibrils are shared differently in mechanically damaged tendons than in healthy tendons.
The results suggest that damage is localised to molecular cross links in the material. Dr Thompson said: “These are important results for understanding how damage is repaired in tendons and how this is affected by diseases such as diabetes that increase the cross links between collagen molecules."
Probing multi-scale mechanical damage in connective tissues using X-ray diffraction (Bianchi et al 2016) is published in the journal Acta Biomaterialia
Diamond Light Source is the UK’s national synchrotron science facility, located in Oxfordshire.