Elastic energy storage in unmineralized and mineralized extracellular matrices (ECMs): A comparison between molecular modeling and experimental measurements

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Abstract

In order to facilitate locomotion and limb movement many animals store energy elastically in their tendons. In the turkey, much of the force generated by the gastrocnemius muscle is stored as elastic energy during tendon deformation and not within the muscle. As limbs move, the tendons are strained causing the collagen fibers in the extracellular matrices to be strained. During growth, avian tendons mineralize in the portions distal to the muscle and show increased tensile strength, modulus, and energy stored per unit strain as a result. In this study the energy stored in unmineralized and mineralized collagen fibers was measured and compared to the amount of energy stored in molecular models. Elastic energy storage values calculated using the molecular model were slightly higher than those obtained from collagen fibers, but display the same increases in slope as the fiber data. We hypothesize that these increases in slope are due to a change from the stretching of flexible regions of the collagen molecule to the stretching of less flexible regions. The elastic modulus obtained from the unmineralized molecular model correlates well with elastic moduli of unmineralized collagen from other studies. This study demonstrates the potential importance of molecular modeling in the design of new biomaterials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-381
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Volume229
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 7 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics

Keywords

  • Collagen
  • Elastic spring constant
  • Mineral
  • PBS, Phosphate buffered saline
  • Steric energy

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