Tendon tissue is composed of collagen fibers in a hydrated proteoglycan matrix. Although many tendons have fibers that are highly aligned (e.g. flexor tendon), the supraspinatus tendon (SST) of the shoulder has significant distribution of fiber alignment [1]. The alignment and distribution of the fibers likely contributes to the nonlinear and anisotropic mechanical behavior, however this has not been demonstrated. Understanding the role of fiber structure on tendon mechanical behavior, that is, characterizing the structure-function relationships, is critical to evaluate the function of injured, degenerated, or healing tendons and would be invaluable in the design and assessment of tissue engineered tendon replacements. While a structurally based hyperelastic model has been developed for tendon [2], this model contained only a single fiber orientation, which is not adequate for the more distributed fiber structure in the SST. We have recently applied a hyperelastic model formulation that has distributed collagen fiber orientation developed by Gasser and colleagues for the arterial wall [3] to model a tendon analog made from nanofibrous scaffolds [4]. The objective of this study was to build on previous work to apply a hyperelastic fiber-reinforced constitutive model that includes a specific term for fiber distribution to the tensile mechanics of human SST and to evaluate the site-specific model material properties.

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