This review highlights recent research on structure-function relationships in tendon and comments on the parallels between development and healing. The processes of tendon development and collagen fibrillogenesis are reviewed, but due to the abundance of information in this field, this work focuses primarily on characterizing the mechanical behavior of mature and developing tendon, and how the latter parallels healing tendon. The role that extracellular matrix components, mainly collagen, proteoglycans, and collagen cross-links, play in determining the mechanical behavior of tendon will be examined in this review. Specifically, collagen fiber re-alignment and collagen fibril uncrimping relate mechanical behavior to structural alterations during development and during healing. Finally, attention is paid to a number of recent efforts to augment injured tendon and how future efforts could focus on recreating the important structure-function relationships reviewed here.
Copyright © 2013 International Society of Matrix Biology. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.