Dynamic changes appearing in collagen fibers during intrinsic tendon repair

H. Paul Ehrlich, Paul A. Lambert, Gregory C. Saggers, Roland L. Myers, Randy M. Hauck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Intrinsic healing of severed tendons shows a delay in a gain in breaking strength and the tendon becomes translucent. The cause of tendon translucence was investigated in suture-repaired rat Achilles tendon. The repair site with adjacent translucent tendon were evaluated histologically on day 10 by immunofluorescence and transmission electron microscopy. The healing tendon translucent region by hematoxylin-eosin staining had few inflammatory cells, polarized light birefringence showed thinner collagen fibers, immunofluorescence showed few myofibroblasts, and transmission electron microscopy revealed frayed, irregular thin collagen fibers. During embryogenesis, tendon fibers grow by the addition of discreet collagen fibril segment structures. The speculation is that collagen fibril segment structures are released from collagen fibers within the translucent tendon region for reuse during the regeneration of tendon collagen fibers during intrinsic tendon repair. Healing tendon translucence is related to a decrease in the diameter of collagen fibers by the release of collagen fibril segments within tendon bundles/fascicles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-206
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of plastic surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery


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