Relationships Between Decorin and Biglycan, Structure and Tendon Mechanics Using Transgenic Mouse Models
Understanding the fundamental way load is transferred through uninjured tendon will help better predict, prevent and ultimately treat injured tendon by identifying key components needed for better treatment modalities and tissue engineered constructs. Many studies have focused on the tensile properties of tendon; however, viscoelastic and compressive properties have not been well defined. The interactions of small leucine-rich proteoglycans (SLRPs) with other ECM molecules, such as collagen fibrils, as well as their association with water have suggested decorin and biglycan SLRPs may play a role in tendon viscoelastic and compressive mechanics. However, there is little data elucidating the structure-function relationships in mature, healthy tendon and what little data does exist has mainly been evaluated in tension. Therefore, we will evaluate the structure-function relationships between decorin and biglycan, structure and complex tendon mechanics in mature, uninjured patellar tendons. Utilizing homozygous null (decorin -/-, biglycan -/-) and heterozygous (decorin +/-, biglycan +/-) transgenic mouse models, the amount of SLRPs will be varied to allow for the study of the "dose" response on tendon mechanics. A statistical model will be used to explore the coordinated roles of the measured matrix molecules to better understand the structure-function relationships in tendon and account for the compensation often seen in transgenic models.
Representative tensile load-time curve