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Water-content related alterations in macro and micro scale tendon biomechanics

: Lozano, P.F.; Scholze, M.; Babian, C.; Scheidt, H.; Vielmuth, F.; Waschke, J.; Ondruschka, B.; Hammer, N.

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Scientific Reports 9 (2019), Art. 7887, 12 pp.
ISSN: 2045-2322
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IWU ()

Though it is known that the water content of biological soft tissues alters mechanical properties, little attempt has been made to adjust the tissue water content prior to biomechanical testing as part of standardization procedures. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of altered water content on the macro and micro scale mechanical tissues properties. Human iliotibial band samples were obtained during autopsies to osmotically adapt their water content. Macro mechanical tensile testing of the samples was conducted with digital image correlation, and micro mechanical tests using atomic force microscopy. Analyses were conducted for elastic moduli, tensile strength, and strain at maximum force, and correlations for water content, anthropometric data, and post-mortem interval. Different mechanical properties exist at different water concentrations. Correlations to anthropometric data are more likely to be found at water concentrations close to the native state. These data underline the need for adapting the water content of soft tissues for macro and micro biomechanical experiments to optimize their validity. The osmotic stress protocol provides a feasible and reliable standardization approach to adjust for water content-related differences induced by age at death, post-mortem interval and tissue processing time with known impact on the stress-strain properties.