A series of experiments was performed to determine the effect of diabetes on the viscoelastic properties of knee joint ligaments. The experimental model was collateral ligaments from spontaneously diabetic, hyperglycemic (BBZDP/Wor) rats, and various controls including nondiabetic littermates, insulin treated diabetic rats, and alloxan treated rats. Material properties were measured using a dynamic, uniaxial loading paradigm. Ligaments were subjected to load controlled, sinusoidal tensile testing, using frequencies from 0.1 to 2.0 Hz. The resulting data were used to determine the storage and loss compliances of the ligaments Storage compliance, which reflects tissue elastic properties, did not differ between groups Loss compliance, which reflects the viscous component of the tissue response, was increased in the hyperglycemic animals. Thus, hyperglycemic diabetes affects tissue mechanical properties through the viscous rather than the elastic component of the response to dynamic loading. Rats treated with alloxan to induce diabetes did not show an increase in loss compliance.

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