The tensile fatigue properties of the collagen fibre meshwork in normal human articular cartilage were measured by subjecting isolated specimens of post-mortem femoral head cartilage to cyclic tensile stress. The results of the study showed (1) that the collagen fibre meshwork is fatigue prone and (2) that its fatigue strength decreases rapidly with age. Extrapolation of the data to physiologically possible stress levels suggests that tensile fatigue failure of the collagen meshwork could occur in life.
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