High-strain Tendons Repair Less Frequently

LONDON, May 27 (UPI) — British scientists say they’ve discovered tendons in high-stress and strain areas of the body repair themselves less frequently than do low-stress tendons.

University College London researchers said their findings might shed some light on the increased susceptibility of certain tendons, such as the Achilles tendon, to injury during aging.

Tendons, composed of collagen and other proteins, serve to connect muscle to bone and must be continually repairing collagen damage to avoid a buildup of degraded proteins that could cause serious complications. But the researchers led by senior lecturer Helen Birch said that while it would be expected high-strain tendons would repair themselves more frequently, they found high-strain tendons located at the rear of a limb repair much less frequently than low-strain common digital extensor tendons located at the front of a limb.

As to why the body would seemingly put its more important tendons at greater risk, the researchers suggest it may be a trade off — too much repair may compromise the strength and stiffness of the tendons that are used heavily, so the body tries to preserve their structural integrity at the risk of increased injury later in life.

The study appears in the May 21 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

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