Injurious mechanical compression of bovine articular cartilage induces chondrocyte apoptosis.

Center for Biomedical Engineering, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge 02139, USA.
Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics (Impact Factor: 3.04). 09/2000; 381(2):205-12. DOI: 10.1006/abbi.2000.1988
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A bovine cartilage explant system was used to evaluate the effects of injurious compression on chondrocyte apoptosis and matrix biochemical and biomechanical properties within intact cartilage. Disks of newborn bovine articular cartilage were compressed in vitro to various peak stress levels and chondrocyte apoptotic cell death, tissue biomechanical properties, tissue swelling, glycosaminoglycan loss, and nitrite levels were quantified. Chondrocyte apoptosis occurred at peak stresses as low as 4.5 MPa and increased with peak stress in a dose-dependent manner. This increase in apoptosis was maximal by 24 h after the termination of the loading protocol. At high peak stresses (>20 MPa), greater than 50% of cells apoptosed. When measured in uniaxial confined compression, the equilibrium and dynamic stiffness of explants decreased with the severity of injurious load, although this trend was not significant until 24-MPa peak stress. In contrast, the equilibrium and dynamic stiffness measured in radially unconfined compression decreased significantly after injurious stresses of 12 and 7 MPa, respectively. Together, these results suggested that injurious compression caused a degradation of the collagen fibril network in the 7- to 12-MPa range. Consistent with this hypothesis, injurious compression caused a dose-dependent increase in tissue swelling, significant by 13-MPa peak stress. Glycosaminoglycans were also released from the cartilage in a dose-dependent manner, significant by 6- to 13-MPa peak stress. Nitrite levels were significantly increased above controls at 20-MPa peak stress. Together, these data suggest that injurious compression can stimulate cell death as well as a range of biomechanical and biochemical alterations to the matrix and, possibly, chondrocyte nitric oxide expression. Interestingly, chondrocyte programmed cell death appears to take place at stresses lower than those required to stimulate cartilage matrix degradation and biomechanical changes. While chondrocyte apoptosis may therefore be one of the earliest responses to tissue injury, it is currently unclear whether this initial cellular response subsequently drives cartilage matrix degradation and changes in the biomechanical properties of the tissue.

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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the histopathological and immunohistochemical effects of loading on cartilage repair in rat full-thickness articular cartilage defects. A total of 40 male 9-week-old Wistar rats were studied. Full-thickness articular cartilage defects were created over the capsule at the loading portion in the medial condyle of the femur. Twenty rats were randomly allocated into each of the 2 groups: a loading group and a unloading group. Twenty rats from these 2 groups were later randomly allocated to each of the 2 groups for evaluation at 1 and 2 weeks after surgery. At the end of each period, knee joints were examined histopathologically and immunohistochemically. In both groups at 1 and 2 weeks, the defects were filled with a mixture of granulation tissue and some remnants of hyaline cartilage. The repair tissue was not stained with toluidine blue in both groups. Strong staining of type I collagen was observed in the repair tissue of both groups. The area stained with type I collagen was smaller in the unloading group than in the loading groups, and the stained area was smaller at 2 weeks than at 1 week. In the staining for type II collagen, apparent staining of type II collagen was observed in the repair tissue of both groups at 1 week. At 2 weeks, there was a tendency toward a higher degree of apparent staining in the loading group than in the unloading group. Accordingly, these results indicated that loading and unloading in the early phase of cartilage repair have both merits and demerits.
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    ABSTRACT: Cartilage injury often results in matrix degradation and in secondary osteoarthritis. This study was designed to correlate cell death and matrix degradation with biomechanical properties of cartilage. Full-thickness mature bovine femoral articular cartilage was harvested as 5 mm diameter cylindrical disk explants. Explants were divided into three groups: control, injury, and IL-1. The injury group was subjected to mechanical compression of 40% strain for five minutes. The IL-1 group was cultured in media containing 10 ng/mL of IL-1beta. The control group was not injured or exposed to IL-1beta. Chondrocyte viability, glycosaminoglycan release in media, and equilibrium creep were measured ten days after injury. A reduction in cell viability was seen after injury. A significant increase in glycosaminoglycan release and in equilibrium creep was detected in injured explants and in explants exposed to IL-1beta. A correlation was also found between the equilibrium creep and glycosaminoglycan content after injury and IL-1beta stimulation.

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