Collagen nanofibrils in mammalian tissues get stronger with exercise

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Collagen is the fundamental building block of muscles, tissues, tendons, and ligaments in mammals. It is also widely used in reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. Although scientists have a good understanding about how it behaves at the tissue-level, some key mechanical properties of collagen at the nanoscale still remain elusive. A recent experimental study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Washington University, and Columbia University on nanoscale collagen fibrils reported on, previously unforeseen, reasons why collagen is such a resilient material.