Response of rabbit Achilles tendon to chronic repetitive loading

Connect Tissue Res. 2001;42(1):13-23. doi: 10.3109/03008200109014245.


The objective of this work was to assess the response of tendon to chronic repetitive loading. Controlled muscle stimulation was used to load the rabbit Achilles tendon at a frequency of 1.25 Hz for two hours per day, three days per week for a period of 11 weeks. Average peak tendon force was 26 N during the protocol. The loading protocol did not modify the gross morphology of the tissue, nor its water content or cellularity. Increases in mRNA expression of collagen Type III and MMPs were observed, but no signs of injury were detected by histologic examination of tendon and paratenon structures. The lack of a detectable injury response suggests that the tendons were not loaded beyond their capacity for repair. Factors additional to mechanical loading such as aging, illness or stress may be necessary to produce pathology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / metabolism*
  • Achilles Tendon / pathology
  • Animals
  • Collagen / genetics
  • Female
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II / genetics
  • Interleukin-1 / genetics
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 3 / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rabbits
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics


  • Interleukin-1
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II
  • Collagen
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 3