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Effects of passive stretching on the biochemical and biomechanical properties of calcaneal tendon of rats.
de Almeida FM, Tomiosso TC, Nakagaki WR, Gomes L, Matiello-Rosa SM, Pimentel ER. Connect Tissue Res. 2009;50(5):279-84.
The role of physical activity in affecting the composition of extracellular matrix and mechanical properties of tendons has been well studied, but little is known about the role of passive stretching. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that stimulation by passive stretching may change the composition and mechanical properties of tendons. Three-month-old Wistar rats were divided into three groups: the control, animals were not submitted to stretching procedures; groups that had their calcaneal tendons manually stretched three or five times a week, for 21 days. Afterward, the calcaneal tendons were removed and assayed for hydroxyproline content and biomechanical test. The hydroxyproline content in the stretched groups was higher, suggesting that more collagen was present in the tendons of these groups. These tendons also showed higher values of maximum stress and modulus of elasticity or Young's modulus. These results indicate that stretching leads to alterations in the synthesis of the extracellular matrix components and in the mechanical properties of tendons.