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Acta Orthop Scand. 2004 Dec;75(6):762-7.

Articular cartilage degeneration after acute subchondral bone damage: an experimental study in dogs with histopathological grading.

Author information

1
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University Hospital, DE-79106, Freiburg, Germany. lahm@ch11.ukl.uni-freiburg.de

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Subchondral fracture patterns and bone bruises have been described and some clinical studies have shown alterations in the initially healthy cartilage after such lesions.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

After having performed cadaver studies, we created an animal model to produce pure subchondral damage without affecting the articular cartilage, under MRI control. We used 12 beagle dogs. For quantification of different degrees of staining, we used a grading of the sections by means of the HHGS (Histological-Histochemical Grading System) or Mankin score.

RESULTS:

In all cases, FLASH 3D sequences revealed intact cartilage in MRI after impact. The best detection of subchondral fractures was achieved in fat-suppressed TIRM sequences. Image analysis based on the HHGS showed changes in 10 of 12 samples, with a high degree of significance 6 months after the initial trauma. Correlation analysis showed loss of the physiological distribution of proteoglycans and glycoproteins in the different zones of articular cartilage. Subcategories "Structure", "Cells" and "Safranin-O Staining" also showed high significance, and the category "Tidemark Integrity" showed a tendency.

INTERPRETATION:

Our findings indicate that acute subchondral fractures are a predictor of degenerative changes within 6 months. Modifications and supplements to rehabilitation might be needed in cases with accompanying subchondral lesions, e.g. in ACL tears.

PMID:
15762269
DOI:
10.1080/00016470410004166
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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