Time course of changes in the human Achilles tendon properties and metabolism during training and detraining in vivo
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- Kubo, K., Ikebukuro, T., Maki, A. et al. Eur J Appl Physiol (2012) 112: 2679. doi:10.1007/s00421-011-2248-x
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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.