An in-vitro system enabled variable range of continuous and intermittent compressive forces to be applied to the cartilage of 4-day-old rats under serum-free culture conditions. A continuous compressive force below 3 g did not affect the growth of the cartilage; when the force exceeded 3 g, growth ceased. Under an intermittent compressive force up to 8 g, growth continued, but at a lower rate; over 8 g, growth ceased. When growth-restricting compression was removed or reduced, growth was reactivated until a new balance was achieved. The normal architecture of the different zones was altered in the non-compressed in-vitro controls, but not in cultured cartilage during the application of these compressive forces. © 1985.
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