Effect of storage and preconditioning of healing rat Achilles tendon on structural and mechanical properties

Franciele Dietrich-Zagonel, Malin Hammerman, Magnus Bernhardsson, Pernilla Eliasson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tendon tissue storage and preconditioning are often used in biomechanical experiments and whether this generates alterations in tissue properties is essential to know. The effect of storage and preconditioning on dense connective tissues, like tendons, is fairly understood. However, healing tendons are unlike and contain a loose connective tissue. Therefore, we investigated if storage of healing tendons in the fridge or freezer changed the mechanical properties compared to fresh tendons, using a pull-to-failure or a creep test. Tissue morphology and cell viability were also evaluated. Additionally, two preconditioning levels were tested. Rats underwent Achilles tendon transection and were euthanized 12 days postoperatively. Statistical analyzes were done with one-way ANOVA or Student’s t-test. Tissue force and stress were unaltered by storage and preconditioning compared to fresh samples, while high preconditioning increased the stiffness and modulus (p ≤ 0.007). Furthermore, both storage conditions did not modify the viscoelastic properties of the healing tendon, but altered transverse area, gap length, and water content. Cell viability was reduced after freezing. In conclusion, preconditioning on healing tissues can introduce mechanical data bias when having extensive tissue strength diversity. Storage can be used before biomechanical testing if structural properties are measured on the day of testing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number958
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Biomaterials Science
  • Medical Biotechnology


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