An In Vivo Lapine Model for Impact-Induced Injury and Osteoarthritic Degeneration of Articular Cartilage

  • Alexander P
  • McCarron J
  • Levine M
 et al. 
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ObjectiveIn this study, we applied a spring-loaded impactor to deliver traumatic forces to articular cartilage in vivo. Based on our recent finding that a 0.28-J impact induces maximal catabolic response in adult bovine articular cartilage in vitro using this device, we hypothesize that this impact will induce the formation of a focal osteoarthritic defect in vivo. DesignThe femoral condyle of New Zealand White rabbits was exposed and one of the following procedures performed: 0.28 J impact, anterior cruciate ligament transection, articular surface grooving, or no joint or cartilage destruction (control). After 24 hours, 4 weeks, or 12 weeks (n = 3 for each time point), wounds were localized with India ink, and tissue samples were collected and characterized histomorphometrically with Safranin O/Fast green staining and Hoechst 33342 nuclear staining for cell vitality. ResultsThe spring-loaded device delivered reproducible impacts with the following characteristics: impact area of 1.39 {+/-} 0.11 mm2, calculated load of 326 {+/-} 47.3 MPa, time-to-peak of 0.32 {+/-} 0.03 ms, and an estimated maximal displacement of 25.1% {+/-} 4.5% at the tip apex. The impact resulted in immediate cartilage fissuring and cell loss in the surface and intermediate zones, and it induced the formation of a focal lesion at 12 weeks. The degeneration was defined and appeared more slowly than after anterior cruciate ligament transection, and more pronounced and characteristic than after grooving. ConclusionA single traumatic 0.28 J impact delivered with this spring-loaded impactor induces focal cartilage degeneration characteristic of osteoarthritis.

Author-supplied keywords

  • articular cartilage
  • cartilage degeneration
  • in vivo model
  • mechanical impact
  • osteoarthritis
  • trauma

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  • Peter G. Alexander

  • Jesse A. McCarron

  • Matthew J. Levine

  • Gary M. Melvin

  • Patrick J. Murray

  • Paul A. Manner

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