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J Orthop Res. 1992 Jan;10(1):88-95.

Rabbit knee immobilization: bone remodeling precedes cartilage degradation.

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Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, California.


This study analyzed processes underlying osteoporosis and osteoarthrosis after short-term immobilization of the right hind limb of postadolescent (2.8 kg) and mature (4.0 kg) rabbits. After 3 weeks, the lateral posterior aspect of the lateral tibial plateau and the lateral femoral condyle of the immobilized limb exhibited prominent subchondral vascular eruptions. Femoral metaphyseal bone density decreased 27 and 18% in the immobilized limbs of postadolescent and mature rabbits, respectively. Calcein green fluorescence increased 1.9-fold (p less than 0.001) in the metaphyseal trabeculae of immobilized femurs. With immobilization, sulfate incorporation into femoral cartilage glycosaminoglycan increased, although total cartilage glycosaminoglycan and hydroxyproline levels were unchanged. Thymidine incorporation into DNA increased four- to fivefold in tibial and femoral cartilage of the immobilized limb. In this study, bone loss and remodeling preceded erosive cartilage degradation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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