Effect of maturation and aging on the histomorphometric and biochemical characteristics of equine superficial digital flexor tendon

Carol Gillis From the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (Gillis); the Departments of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology (Pool). Surgical and Radiological Sciences (Meagher), Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology (Stover), School of Veterinary Medicine; the Department of Medicine, School of Medicine (Reiser); and the Department of Statistics (Willits); University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Roy R. Pool From the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (Gillis); the Departments of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology (Pool). Surgical and Radiological Sciences (Meagher), Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology (Stover), School of Veterinary Medicine; the Department of Medicine, School of Medicine (Reiser); and the Department of Statistics (Willits); University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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D.M. Meagher From the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (Gillis); the Departments of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology (Pool). Surgical and Radiological Sciences (Meagher), Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology (Stover), School of Veterinary Medicine; the Department of Medicine, School of Medicine (Reiser); and the Department of Statistics (Willits); University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Susan M. Stover From the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (Gillis); the Departments of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology (Pool). Surgical and Radiological Sciences (Meagher), Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology (Stover), School of Veterinary Medicine; the Department of Medicine, School of Medicine (Reiser); and the Department of Statistics (Willits); University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Karen Reiser From the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (Gillis); the Departments of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology (Pool). Surgical and Radiological Sciences (Meagher), Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology (Stover), School of Veterinary Medicine; the Department of Medicine, School of Medicine (Reiser); and the Department of Statistics (Willits); University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Neil Willits From the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (Gillis); the Departments of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology (Pool). Surgical and Radiological Sciences (Meagher), Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology (Stover), School of Veterinary Medicine; the Department of Medicine, School of Medicine (Reiser); and the Department of Statistics (Willits); University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

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Abstract

Objective

To assess tendon morphology and non-reducible crosslink concentration, and associations of these findings with horse age and previously reported mechanical and ultrasonographic findings.

Sample Population

Superficial digital flexor tendon samples were obtained from 23 horses aged 2 to 23 years. The tendons had undergone ultrasonography and were submitted to biomechanical testing in the physiologic range prior to sample acquisition.

Procedure

Samples were sectioned in a transverse plane; then dorsal, palmar, central, lateral, and medial regions were evaluated for fascicle cross-sectional area (CSA), septal width, and vessel density (the product of vessel numbers and vessel CSA per field). Contiguous samples were analyzed for collagen crosslinking.

Results

Central fascicles were significantly larger than fascicles in other tendon regions. Fascicle CSA decreased significantly with increasing age. Because total tendon CSA is unrelated to increasing age, fascicle numbers appeared to increase with increasing age. Regional or age effects on septal width were not found. There was no age or regional effect on vessel numbers, density, or fractional area.

Fascicle CSA was positively correlated with total tendon CSA; fascicle CSA was negatively correlated with elastic modulus. Hydroxypiridinium concentration tended to increase with increasing horse age; this effect was associated with a positive correlation between hydroxypiridinium values and elastic modulus.

Conclusions

Equine superficial digital flexor tendon undergoes an increase in structural organization and an increase in nonreducible crosslinks with maturation and aging. These changes are associated with an increase in elastic modulus. (Am J Vet Res 1997; 58:425–430)

Abstract

Objective

To assess tendon morphology and non-reducible crosslink concentration, and associations of these findings with horse age and previously reported mechanical and ultrasonographic findings.

Sample Population

Superficial digital flexor tendon samples were obtained from 23 horses aged 2 to 23 years. The tendons had undergone ultrasonography and were submitted to biomechanical testing in the physiologic range prior to sample acquisition.

Procedure

Samples were sectioned in a transverse plane; then dorsal, palmar, central, lateral, and medial regions were evaluated for fascicle cross-sectional area (CSA), septal width, and vessel density (the product of vessel numbers and vessel CSA per field). Contiguous samples were analyzed for collagen crosslinking.

Results

Central fascicles were significantly larger than fascicles in other tendon regions. Fascicle CSA decreased significantly with increasing age. Because total tendon CSA is unrelated to increasing age, fascicle numbers appeared to increase with increasing age. Regional or age effects on septal width were not found. There was no age or regional effect on vessel numbers, density, or fractional area.

Fascicle CSA was positively correlated with total tendon CSA; fascicle CSA was negatively correlated with elastic modulus. Hydroxypiridinium concentration tended to increase with increasing horse age; this effect was associated with a positive correlation between hydroxypiridinium values and elastic modulus.

Conclusions

Equine superficial digital flexor tendon undergoes an increase in structural organization and an increase in nonreducible crosslinks with maturation and aging. These changes are associated with an increase in elastic modulus. (Am J Vet Res 1997; 58:425–430)

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