Regional variation in human supraspinatus tendon proteoglycans: Decorin, biglycan, and aggrecan

Paul E. Matuszewski, Yi Ling Chen, Spencer E. Szczesny, Spencer P. Lake, Dawn M. Elliott, Louis J. Soslowsky, George R. Dodge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


While tendons typically undergo primary tensile loading, the human supraspinatus tendon (SST) experiences substantial amounts of tension, compression, and shear in vivo. As a result, the functional roles of the extracellular matrix components, in particular the proteoglycans (PGs), are likely complex and important. The goal of this study was to determine the PG content in specific regions of the SST that exhibit differing mechanical function. The concentration of aggrecan, biglycan, and decorin was determined in six regions of the human SST using immunochemical techniques. We hypothesized that aggrecan concentrations would be highest in areas where the tendon likely experiences compression; biglycan levels would be highest in regions likely subjected to injury and/or active remodeling such as the anterior regions; decorin concentrations would be highest in regions of greatest tensile stiffness. Our results generally supported these hypotheses and demonstrated that aggrecan and biglycan share regional variability, with increased concentration in the anterior and posterior regions and smaller concentration in the medial regions. Decorin, however, was in high concentration throughout all regions. The data presented in this study represent the first regional measurements of PG in the SST. Together with our previous regional measurements of mechanical properties, these data can be used to evaluate SST structurefunction relationships. With knowledge of the differences in specific PG content, their spatial variations in the SST, and their relationships to tendon mechanics, we can begin to associate defects in PG content with specific pathology, which may provide guidance for new therapeutic interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-348
Number of pages6
JournalConnective Tissue Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Rheumatology
  • Biochemistry
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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