Increased collagen turnover impairs tendon microstructure and stability in integrin α2β1-deficient mice

Daniel Kronenberg, Philipp A. Michel, Eva Hochstrat, Ma Wei, Jürgen Brinckmann, Marcus Müller, Andre Frank, Uwe Hansen, Beate Eckes, Richard Stange*

*Corresponding author for this work
1 Citation (Scopus)


Integrins are a family of transmembrane proteins, involved in substrate recognition and cell adhesion in cross-talk with the extra cellular matrix. In this study, we investigated the influence of integrin α2β1 on tendons, another collagen type I-rich tissue of the musculoskeletal system. Morphological, as well as functional, parameters were analyzed in vivo and in vitro, comparing wild-type against integrin α2β1 deficiency. Tenocytes lacking integrin α2β1 produced more collagen in vitro, which is similar to the situation in osseous tissue. Fibril morphology and biomechanical strength proved to be altered, as integrin α2β1 deficiency led to significantly smaller fibrils as well as changes in dynamic E-modulus in vivo. This discrepancy can be explained by a higher collagen turnover: integrin α2β1-deficient cells produced more matrix, and tendons contained more residual C-terminal fragments of type I collagen, as well as an increased matrix metalloproteinase-2 activity. A greatly decreased percentage of non-collagenous proteins may be the cause of changes in fibril diameter regulation and increased the proteolytic degradation of collagen in the integrin-deficient tendons. The results reveal a significant impact of integrin α2β1 on collagen modifications in tendons. Its role in tendon pathologies, like chronic degradation, will be the subject of future investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2835
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 02.04.2020

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


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