Structural and mechanical assessment of developing chick tendon

Daniel J. McBride, Robert L. Trelstad, Frederick H. Silver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Changes in macroscopic stress-strain characteristics were used to assess alterations in tendon microstructure during chick tendon morphogenesis. Five periods of chick development were observed: post fertilization days 14 (stage 40), 16 (stage 42), 17 (stage 43), 21 (stage H0), 23 (stage H2). The shapes of the stress-strain curves, ultimate tensile strength, and strain to failure were used to follow changes in the biomechanical properties during development. The ultimate tensile strength increased from 2.05 MPa (1 MPa = 106 N/m2) at stage 40 to 58.05 at 2 days post hatching. A statistically significant increase in measured tensile strength was observed between stage 42 and stage 43. Strain to failure was 13% at stage 40, 22% at stage 42, and 29% for stages 43, H0, and H2. Changes in total tendon collagen were assessed by measuring hydroxyproline content. Hydroxyproline/g of dry weight increased at each successive stage of morphogenesis and ranged from 39.17 mg/g dry weight at stage 40 to 83.41 mg/g dry weight at stage H2. Dry weight increased from 12.91% to 20.19% over the same period. The mean collagen fibril diameter ranged from approximately 45 nm to 62 nm. The fibril distribution was unimodal at all stages, but changed from a tight unimodal (stage 40, 42) to a broad unimodal distribution by stage H2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-200
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Macromolecules
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1988

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Energy(all)


  • Collagen fibrils
  • stress-strain characteristics
  • tendon

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