Force spectroscopy of collagen fibers to investigate their mechanical properties and structural organization

Tendons are composed of collagen and other molecules in a highly organized hierarchical assembly, leading to extraordinary mechanical properties. To probe the cross-links on the lower level of organization, we used a cantilever to pull substructures out of the assembly. Advanced force probe technology, using small cantilevers (length <20 μm), improved the force resolution into the sub-10 pN range. In the force versus extension curves, we found an exponential increase in force and two different periodic rupture events, one with strong bonds (jumps in force of several hundred pN) with a periodicity of 78 nm and one with weak bonds (jumps in force of <7 pN) with a periodicity of 22 nm. We demonstrate a good correlation between the measured mechanical behavior of collagen fibers and their appearance in the micrographs taken with the atomic force microscope.


Published in:
Biophysical Journal, 86, 5, 3186-3193
Year:
2004
ISSN:
0006-3495
Note:
Times Cited: 32
Laboratories:




 Record created 2010-11-05, last modified 2018-03-16


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