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Ground Substance

Tendon acquires much of its viscoelastic properties from the extracellular matrix, or ground substance, surrounding the collagen fibers. Human tendons contain limited amounts of ground substance by total dry weight (~1%). The ground substance is rich with (GAGs) linked to proteoglycans at the molecular level.

These GAGs are long, unbranched, polysaccharide chains of repeating disaccharide […]


The fibroblast cells in the tendon ground substance produce collagen, but first, they produce a large intracellular collagen precursor, procollagen. Once the procollagen has been secreted into the extracellular matrix, it can be cleaved by procollagen peptidases to form the triple-helix molecule known as tropocollagen.

The tropocollagen molecules are then aligned in an orderly fashion […]


Tendon Structure and Architecture

Tendon is juxtaposed between muscle and bone and is responsible for transmitting muscular forces to the skeletal system during limb locomotion. It is a dense, regularly arranged connective tissue that is well suited for resisting tensile loads with minimal elongation during muscle contraction.

Approximately 85% of a tendon’s dry weight is […]


Histologically, the meniscus is a fibrocartilaginous tissue composed primarily of an interlacing network of collagen fibers interposed with cells. The cells of the meniscus are responsible for synthesizing and maintaining the extracellular matrix. There is still some debate as to whether the cells of the meniscus are fibroblasts, chondrocytes, or a mixture of both and […]

The Proteoglycans

Proteoglycans consist of small amounts of protein bound to negatively charged polysaccharide chains referred to as GAGs. In articular cartilage, proteoglycans form a large portion of the macromolecular framework (commonly about 30% to 35% of the tissue dry weight), but in ligaments they form only a small portion of this framework, usually less than 1% […]