European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 112, Issue 7, pp 2679–2691 | Cite as

Time course of changes in the human Achilles tendon properties and metabolism during training and detraining in vivo

  • Keitaro Kubo
  • Toshihiro Ikebukuro
  • Akira Maki
  • Hideaki Yata
  • Naoya Tsunoda
Original Article


The purpose of this study was to investigate the time course of changes in human tendon properties and metabolism during resistance training and detraining. Nine men (21–27 years) completed 3 months of isometric plantar flexion training and another 3 months of detraining. At the beginning and on every 1 month of training and detraining periods, the stiffness, blood circulation (blood volume and oxygen saturation), serum procollagen type 1 C-peptide (P1P; reflects synthesis of type 1 collagen), echointensity (reflects collagen content), and MRI signal intensity (reflects collagen structure) of the Achilles tendon were measured. Tendon stiffness did not change until 2 months of training, and the increase (50.3%) reached statistical significance at the end of the training period. After 1 month of detraining, tendon stiffness had already decreased to pre-training level. Blood circulation in the tendon did not change during the experimental period. P1P increased significantly after 2 months of training. Echointensity increased significantly by 9.1% after 2 months of training, and remained high throughout the experiment. MRI signal intensity increased by 24.2% after 2 months and by 21.4% after 3 months of training, but decreased to the pre-training level during the detraining period. These results suggested that the collagen synthesis, content, and structure of human tendons changed at the 2-month point of training period. During detraining, the sudden decrease in tendon stiffness might be related to changes in the structure of collagen fibers within the tendon.


Plantar flexor Tendon stiffness Collagen synthesis Structure 



This study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (A) (21680047 to K. Kubo) from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and Yamaha Motor Foundation for Sports. The authors thank the staff of Kouikai Clinic for their technical assistance with MRI measurements. The authors also thank Mr. Yuki K and Mr. Sato H (Kishimoto Clinical Laboratory Group) for their conscientious work on the analyses of serum biochemical markers.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keitaro Kubo
    • 1
  • Toshihiro Ikebukuro
    • 2
  • Akira Maki
    • 2
  • Hideaki Yata
    • 3
  • Naoya Tsunoda
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Life Science (Sports Sciences)University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Physical EducationKokushikan UniversityTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Sports Science LaboratoryWako UniversityTokyoJapan

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