Micro-mechanical properties of the tendon-to-bone attachment

Journal article


Deymier, AC, An, Y, Boyle, JJ, Schwartz, AG, Birman, V, Genin, GM, Thomopoulos, S and Barber, AH (2017). Micro-mechanical properties of the tendon-to-bone attachment. Acta Biomaterialia. 56, pp. 25-35.
AuthorsDeymier, AC, An, Y, Boyle, JJ, Schwartz, AG, Birman, V, Genin, GM, Thomopoulos, S and Barber, AH
Abstract

The tendon-to-bone attachment (enthesis) is a complex hierarchical tissue that connects stiff bone to compliant tendon. The attachment site at the micrometer scale exhibits gradients in mineral content and collagen orientation, which likely act to minimize stress concentrations. The physiological micromechanics of the attachment thus define resultant performance, but difficulties in sample preparation and mechanical testing at this scale have restricted understanding of structure-mechanical function. Here, microscale beams from entheses of wild type mice and mice with mineral defects were prepared using cryo-focused ion beam milling and pulled to failure using a modified atomic force microscopy system. Micromechanical behavior of tendon-to-bone structures, including elastic modulus, strength, resilience, and toughness, were obtained. Results demonstrated considerably higher mechanical performance at the micrometer length scale compared to the millimeter tissue length scale, describing enthesis material properties without the influence of higher order structural effects such as defects. Micromechanical investigation revealed a decrease in strength in entheses with mineral defects. To further examine structure-mechanical function relationships, local deformation behavior along the tendon-to-bone attachment was determined using local image correlation. A high compliance zone near the mineralized gradient of the attachment was clearly identified and highlighted the lack of correlation between mineral distribution and strain on the low-mineral end of the attachment. This compliant region is proposed to act as an energy absorbing component, limiting catastrophic failure within the tendon-to-bone attachment through higher local deformation. This understanding of tendon-to-bone micromechanics demonstrates the critical role of micrometer scale features in the mechanics of the tissue.

KeywordsMD Multidisciplinary; Biomedical Engineering
Year2017
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Journal citation56, pp. 25-35
PublisherElsevier
ISSN1742-7061
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1016/j.actbio.2017.01.037
Publication dates
Print11 Jan 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited21 Aug 2018
Accepted10 Jan 2017
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
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https://openresearch.lsbu.ac.uk/item/870x8

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