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Diabetes mellitus (DM) is associated with musculoskeletal complications—including tendon dysfunction and injury. Patients with DM show altered foot and ankle mechanics that have been attributed to tendon dysfunction as well as impaired recovery post-tendon injury. Despite the problem of DM-related tendon complications, treatment guidelines specific to this population of individuals are lacking. DM impairs tendon structure, function, and healing capacity in tendons throughout the body, but the Achilles tendon is of particular concern and most studied in the diabetic foot. At macroscopic levels, asymptomatic, diabetic Achilles tendons may show morphological abnormalities such as thickening, collagen disorganization, and/or calcific changes at the tendon enthesis. At smaller length scales, DM affects collagen sliding and discrete plasticity due to glycation of collagen. However, how these alterations translate to mechanical deficits observed at larger length scales is an area of continued investigation. In addition to dysfunction of the extracellular matrix, tendon cells such as tenocytes and tendon stem/progenitor cells show significant abnormalities in proliferation, apoptosis, and remodeling capacity in the presence of hyperglycemia and advanced glycation end-products, thus contributing to the disruption of tendon homeostasis and healing. Improving our understanding of the effects of DM on tendons—from molecular pathways to patients—will progress toward targeted therapies in this group at high risk of foot and ankle morbidity.more » « lessFree, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
Advanced glycation end‐products (AGEs) have been suggested to contribute to bone fragility in type 2 diabetes (T2D). AGEs can be induced through in vitro sugar incubations but there is limited data on the effect of total fluorescent AGEs on mechanical properties of human cortical bone, which may have altered characteristics in T2D. Thus, to examine the effect of AGEs on bone directly in T2D patients with uncontrolled sugar levels, it is essential to first understand the fundamental mechanisms by studying the effects of controlled in vitro‐induced AGEs on cortical bone mechanical behavior. Here, human cortical bone specimens from female cadaveric tibias (ages 57–87) were incubated in an in vitro 0.6 M ribose or vehicle solution (
n= 20/group) for 10 days at 37°C, their mechanical properties were assessed by microindentation and fracture toughness tests, and induced AGE levels were quantified through a fluorometric assay. Results indicated that ribose‐incubated bone had significantly more AGEs (+81%, p≤ 0.005), lower elastic modulus assessed by traditional microindentation, and lower fracture toughness compared with vehicle controls. Furthermore, based on pooled data, increased AGEs were significantly correlated with deteriorated mechanical properties. The findings presented here show that the accumulation of AGEs allows for lower stiffness and increased ability to initiate a crack in human cortical bone. Statement of clinical significance: High sugar levels as in T2D results in deteriorated bone quality via AGE accumulation with a consequent weakening in bone's mechanical integrity. © 2019 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 38:972‐983, 2020