Purpose: The proper function of the tenocyte network depends on cell-matrix as well as intercellular communication that is mechanosensitive. Building on the concept that the etiopathogenic stimulus for tendon degeneration is the catabolic response of tendon cells to mechanobiologic under-stimulation, we studied the pericellular matrix rich in versican and its predominant proteolytic enzyme ADAMTS-1, as well as Connexin-43 (Cx43), a major gap junction forming protein in tendons, in stress-deprived rat tail tendon fascicles (RTTfs).Materials and Methods: RTTfs were stress-deprived for up to 7 days under tissue culture conditions. RT-qPCR was used to measure mRNA expression of versican, ADAMTS-1, and Cx43. Protein synthesis was determined using Western blotting and immunohistochemistry.Results: Stress-deprivation (SD) caused a statistically significant up-regulation of versican, ADAMTS-1, and Cx43 mRNA expression that was persistent over the 7-day test period. Western blot analysis and immunohistochemical assessment of protein synthesis revealed a marked increase of the respective proteins with SD. Inhibition of proteolytic enzyme activity with ilomastat prevented the increased versican degradation and Cx43 synthesis in 3 days stress-deprived tendons when compared with non-treated, stress-deprived tendons.Conclusion: In the absence of mechanobiological signaling the immediate pericellular matrix is modulated as tendon cells up-regulate their production of ADAMTS-1, and versican with subsequent proteoglycan degradation potentially leading to cell signaling cues increasing Cx43 gap junctional protein. The results also provide further support for the hypothesis that the cellular changes associated with tendinopathy are a result of decreased mechanobiological signaling and a loss of homeostatic cytoskeletal tension.