Transient and cyclic responses of strain-generated potential in rabbit patellar tendon are frequency and pH dependent

C. T. Chen, R. P. McCabe, A. J. Grodzinsky, Jr Vanderby R.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The goal of this study was to expand understanding of strain-generated potential (SGP) in ligamentous or tendinous tissues. Most SGP studies in the past have focused on cartilage or bone. Herein, rabbit patellar tendon (PT) was used as a model. Each patellar tendon had two Ag/AgCl electrodes inserted at axial positions of 1/4 and 1/2 from patellar to tibial insertions. Each specimen was electrically isolated, gripped in a servohydraulic test system, and then subjected to a short session of uniaxial haversine tension (2.5 percent maximum strain) at a frequency of 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, or 5.0 Hz. A cyclic (sinusoidal) electrical potential superimposed upon a larger transient (exponentially asymptotic) potential was consistently observed. Upon termination of loading, the cyclic SGP ended, and the shifted baseline of the SGP exponentially decayed and asymptotically returned to a residual potential which over all specimens was not different than the original potential. The transient and cyclic SGPs were frequency dependent (P < 0.001, P = 0.06, respectively). To our knowledge, this transient portion of the SGP, although theoretically predicted by Suh (1996, Biorheology, 33, pp. 289-304) and Chen (1996, Ph.D. thesis, University of Wisconsin - Madison) has not been observed in other experiments using different protocols. Additional PTs were dehydrated and the rehydrated in solution at different pH levels. The magnitude of SGPs increased in basic solution (pH 9.5) but diminished in pH 4.7 buffer. This pH dependency suggests that electrokinetics is the dominant mechanism for the transient and cyclic responses of the SGPs, although this study does not provide direct evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-470
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 15 2000


  • Electrokinetics
  • Patellar tendon
  • Strain-generated potential
  • Transient response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Physiology (medical)


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