Maturation of collagen fibril network structure in tibial and femoral cartilage of rabbits.
ABSTRACT The structure and composition of articular cartilage change during development and growth, as well as in response to varying loading conditions. These changes modulate the functional properties of cartilage. We studied maturation-related changes in the collagen network organization of cartilage as a function of tissue depth.
Articular cartilage from the tibial medial plateaus and femoral medial condyles of female New Zealand white rabbits was collected from six age-groups: 4 weeks (n=30), 6 weeks (n=30), 3 months (n=24), 6 months (n=24), 9 months (n=27) and 18 months (n=19). Collagen fibril orientation, parallelism (anisotropy) and optical retardation were analyzed with polarized light microscopy. Differences in the development of depth-wise collagen organization in consecutive age-groups and the two joint locations were compared statistically.
The collagen fibril network of articular cartilage undergoes significant changes during maturation. The most prominent changes in collagen architecture, as assessed by orientation, parallelism and retardation were noticed between the ages of 4 and 6 weeks in tibial cartilage and between 6 weeks and 3 months in femoral cartilage, i.e., orientation became more perpendicular-to-surface, and parallelism and retardation increased with changes being most prominent in the deep zone. At the age of 6 weeks, tibial cartilage had a more perpendicular-to-surface orientation in the middle and deep zones than femoral cartilage (P<0.001) and higher parallelism throughout the tissue depth (P<0.001), while femoral cartilage exhibited more parallel-to-surface orientation (P<0.01) above the deep zone after maturation. Optical retardation of collagen was higher in tibial than in femoral cartilage at the ages of 4 and 6 weeks (P<0.001), while at older ages, retardation below the superficial zone in the femoral cartilage became higher than in the tibial cartilage.
During maturation, there is a significant modulation of collagen organization in articular cartilage which occurs earlier in tibial than in femoral cartilage, and is most pronounced in the deep zone.
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ABSTRACT: Bovine pericardium is used for heart valve leaflet replacement where the strength and thinness are critical properties. Pericardium from neonatal animals (4-7 days old) is advantageously thinner and is considered as an alternative to that from adult animals. Here, the structures of adult and neonatal bovine pericardium tissues fixed with glutaraldehyde are characterized by synchrotron-based small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and compared with the mechanical properties of these materials. Significant differences are observed between adult and neonatal tissue. The glutaraldehyde fixed neonatal tissue has a higher modulus of elasticity (83.7 MPa) than adult pericardium (33.5 MPa) and a higher normalised ultimate tensile strength (32.9 MPa) than adult pericardium (19.1 MPa). Measured edge on to the tissue, the collagen in neonatal pericardium is significantly more aligned (orientation index (OI) 0.78) than that in adult pericardium (OI 0.62). There is no difference in the fibril diameter between neonatal and adult pericardium. It is shown that high alignment in the plane of the tissue provides the mechanism for the increased strength of the neonatal material. The superior strength of neonatal compared with adult tissue supports the use of neonatal bovine pericardium in heterografts.BioMed Research International 09/2014; 2014:189197. DOI:10.1155/2014/189197 · 2.71 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Articular cartilage is organized into multiple zones including superficial, middle and calcified zones with distinct cellular and extracellular components to impart lubrication, compressive strength, and rigidity for load transmission to bone, respectively. During native cartilage tissue development, changes in biochemical, mechanical, and cellular factors direct the formation of stratified structure of articular cartilage. The objective of this work was to investigate the effect of combined gradients in cell density, matrix stiffness, and zone-specific growth factors on the zonal organization of articular cartilage. Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) were encapsulated in acrylate-functionalized lactide-chain-extended polyethylene glycol (SPELA) gels simulating cell density and stiffness of the superficial, middle and calcified zones. The cell-encapsulated gels were cultivated in a medium supplemented with growth factors specific to each zone and the expression of zone-specific markers was measured with incubation time. Encapsulation of 60 × 10(6) cells per mL hMSCs in a soft gel (80 kPa modulus) and cultivation with a combination of TGF-β1 (3 ng mL(-1)) and BMP-7 (100 ng mL(-1)) led to the expression of markers for the superficial zone. Conversely, encapsulation of 15 × 10(6) cells per mL hMSCs in a stiff gel (320 MPa modulus) and cultivation with a combination of TGF-β1 (30 ng mL(-1)) and hydroxyapatite (3%) led to the expression of markers for the calcified zone. Further, encapsulation of 20 × 10(6) cells per mL hMSCs in a gel with 2.1 MPa modulus and cultivation with a combination of TGF-β1 (30 ng mL(-1)) and IGF-1 (100 ng mL(-1)) led to up-regulation of the middle zone markers. Results demonstrate that a developmental approach with gradients in cell density, matrix stiffness, and zone-specific growth factors can potentially regenerate zonal structure of the articular cartilage.Integrative Biology 11/2014; 7(1). DOI:10.1039/C4IB00197D · 4.00 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Among mammalian soft tissues, articular cartilage is particularly interesting because it can endure a lifetime of daily mechanical loading despite having minimal regenerative capacity. This remarkable resilience may be due to the depth-dependent mechanical properties, which have been shown to localize strain and energy dissipation. This paradigm proposes that these properties arise from the depth-dependent collagen fiber orientation. Nevertheless, this structure-function relationship has not yet been quantified. Here, we use confocal elastography, quantitative polarized light microscopy, and Fourier-transform infrared imaging to make same-sample measurements of the depth-dependent shear modulus, collagen fiber organization, and extracellular matrix concentration in neonatal bovine articular cartilage. We find weak correlations between the shear modulus |G(∗)| and both the collagen fiber orientation and polarization. We find a much stronger correlation between |G(∗)| and the concentration of collagen fibers. Interestingly, very small changes in collagen volume fraction vc lead to orders-of-magnitude changes in the modulus with |G(∗)| scaling as (vc - v0)(ξ). Such dependencies are observed in the rheology of other biopolymer networks whose structure exhibits rigidity percolation phase transitions. Along these lines, we propose that the collagen network in articular cartilage is near a percolation threshold that gives rise to these large mechanical variations and localization of strain at the tissue's surface.Biophysical Journal 10/2014; 107(7):1721-1730. DOI:10.1016/j.bpj.2014.08.011 · 3.83 Impact Factor