While the tensile failure properties of rat-tail tendon depend on strain rate, the sensitivity to strain rate decreases with age, especially during sexual maturation. The object of this study was to determine the effect of an experimental model of chronic lathyrism on age-dependent changes in the sensitivity of developing tendon strength to strain rate. Tensile failure experiments were conducted at high and low strain rate on tendons excised from test and control animals aged 1 to 6 mo. The tensile “yield” response of tendon was significantly affected by the diet resulting in a reduced tensile strength and failure strain. While the sensitivity of tendon failure to strain rate was slightly elevated by the experimental diet, age-dependent changes compared with controls. Since the diet supplement is thought to inhibit covalent crosslinking of collagen in the developing tendon, other factors are likely responsible for decrease in the sensitivity of tendon strength to strain rate during maturation.

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