Effect of disuse on the ultrastructure of the achilles tendon in rats

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We examined the influence exerted, through disuse of the hindlimb, on the collagen fibres of the achilles tendon in rats. With disuse the body mass decreased by 28%, and the mass of soleus muscle decreased by 20%. A decrease in the surface area and diameter was observed in the experimental group when compared to the control group. A histogram of the collagen fibres showed a decrease of the thick fibres in the experimental group. The maximum surface area of collagen fibres in the experimental group was seen to be only 43% of that of the control group. These results showed a decrease in the thickness of the collagen fibres of the achilles tendon through disuse. This seemed to suggest that resistance to tension is decreased by disuse.