Biomechanical Properties and Histology of Db/Db Diabetic Mouse Achilles Tendon

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Foot ulcers are a severe complication of diabetic patients resulting from nerve and tendon pathologic alterations. In diabetic patients the tendons are thicker, shorter and have increased stiffness. We examined C57BL/KsJ (BKS.Cg-Dock7m +/+ Leprdb/J) (db/db) mice tendons to determine whether they are an animal model for human diabetic tendon changes. We hypothesized that the Achilles tendons of db/db diabetic mice would be thicker, stiffer, fail at lower loads and stresses, and have degenerative changes compared to control mice. Biomechanical and histologic analyses of the Achilles tendons of 16 week old db/db and control male mice were performed. There was a significant increase in tendon diameter and significant decreases in maximum load, tensile stress, stiffness and elastic modulus in tendons from diabetic mice compared to controls. Mild degenerative and neutrophil infiltration was observed near the tendon insertions on the calcaneous in 25% of db/db mice. In summary, hyper-glycemia and obesity lead to severe changes in db/db mice will be a useful model to examine mechanisms for tendon alterations.