In this paper, we used second-harmonic-generation (SHG) microscopy, showing high selectivity and good image contrast to collagen molecules as well as high spatial resolution, optical three-dimensional sectioning, deep penetration, and without additional staining. Since SHG light intensity sensitively reflects the structural maturity of collagen molecule and its aggregates, it will be a good indicator for the repairing degree of the ruptured tendon. From comparison of SHG images between the 4-weeks-repaired tendon and the sound tendon in the animal model, we confirmed that SHG light intensity of the repaired tendon was significantly lower than that of the sound tendon, indicating that the collagen structure in the repaired tendon is still immature. Furthermore, we performed both SHG imaging and the tensile test for the same sample, and confirmed a correlation between them. This result shows a potential of SHG light for an indicator of the histological and mechanical recovery of the ruptured tendon.
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