Regional variation in human supraspinatus tendon proteoglycans: decorin, biglycan, and aggrecan.

Research paper by Paul E PE Matuszewski, Yi-Ling YL Chen, Spencer E SE Szczesny, Spencer P SP Lake, Dawn M DM Elliott, Louis J LJ Soslowsky, George R GR Dodge

Indexed on: 15 Feb '12Published on: 15 Feb '12Published in: Connective tissue research


While tendons typically undergo primary tensile loading, the human supraspinatus tendon (SST) experiences substantial amounts of tension, compression, and shear in vivo. As a result, the functional roles of the extracellular matrix components, in particular the proteoglycans (PGs), are likely complex and important. The goal of this study was to determine the PG content in specific regions of the SST that exhibit differing mechanical function. The concentration of aggrecan, biglycan, and decorin was determined in six regions of the human SST using immunochemical techniques. We hypothesized that aggrecan concentrations would be highest in areas where the tendon likely experiences compression; biglycan levels would be highest in regions likely subjected to injury and/or active remodeling such as the anterior regions; decorin concentrations would be highest in regions of greatest tensile stiffness. Our results generally supported these hypotheses and demonstrated that aggrecan and biglycan share regional variability, with increased concentration in the anterior and posterior regions and smaller concentration in the medial regions. Decorin, however, was in high concentration throughout all regions. The data presented in this study represent the first regional measurements of PG in the SST. Together with our previous regional measurements of mechanical properties, these data can be used to evaluate SST structure-function relationships. With knowledge of the differences in specific PG content, their spatial variations in the SST, and their relationships to tendon mechanics, we can begin to associate defects in PG content with specific pathology, which may provide guidance for new therapeutic interventions.