The composition of cartilage is known to change during fetal and postnatal development. The objectives of this study were to characterize the compressive biomechanical properties of the 1 mm thick articular layer of cartilage of the distal femur from third-trimester bovine fetuses, from 1 to 3 week old bovine calf and from young adult bovine knees, and to correlate these properties with tissue components. The confined compression modulus increased 180% from the fetus to the calf and adult. The hydraulic permeability at 45% offset compression (relative to the free-swelling thickness) decreased by 70% from fetus to adult. These development-associated changes in biomechanical properties were primarily associated with a marked (∼2-3-fold) increase during development in collagen content and no detectable change in glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content. A role for collagen in the compressive properties of cartilage and the gradual increase in collagen during development suggest that collagen metabolism is critical for cartilage tissue engineering and repair therapies. © 2001 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Williamson, A. K., Chen, A. C., & Sah, R. L. (2001). Compressive properties and function-composition relationships of developing bovine articular cartilage. Journal of Orthopaedic Research, 19(6), 1113–1121. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0736-0266(01)00052-3