Tissue grafts are widely used in the repair of damaged tendons and ligaments. However, studies have shown that these grafts rapidly lose their strength shortly after implantation [1]. One possible mechanism for such behavior is the degradation of the extracellular matrix (ECM) due to the action of collagenase, a matrix metalloprotenase. Studies investigating the effects of water content and uniaxial tension on collagen degradation by bacterial collagenase have been performed in the rabbit model [2]. However, results obtained using bacterial collagenase cannot be extrapolated to mammalian collagenase due to their differences in activity. In addition, the limited availability of mammalian collagenase makes it difficult to use in the relatively large rabbit model. The purpose of this study was to replicate bacterial collagenase experiments [2] using rat tail tendons in order to determine the feasibility of using the smaller rat model to study the effects of mammalian collagenase on tendon degradation.

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