Send to

Choose Destination
Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2007 Jun;15(6):682-7. Epub 2007 Feb 15.

Regional variations of collagen orientation in normal and diseased articular cartilage and subchondral bone determined using small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS).

Author information

School of Physics, University of Exeter, Stocker Road, Exeter, Devon EX4 4QL, UK.



To determine regional differences in the orientation of collagen in the articular cartilage of the equine metacarpophalangeal joint as well as describing cartilage orientation in lesions using small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS).


SAXS diffraction patterns were taken at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), with increasing depth into cartilage and bone cross sections. Results for healthy samples were taken at different regions along the joint which receive different loads and differences in collagen orientation were determined. Results were also taken from diseased samples and the collagen orientation changes from that of healthy samples observed.


Regions subject to low loads show a lower degree of orientation and regions exposed to the highest loads possess oriented collagen fibres especially in the radial layer. In early lesions the orientations of the collagen fibres are disrupted. Subchondral bone fibres are twisted in regions where the joint receives shear forces. Changes in fibre orientation are also observed in the calcified cartilage even in regions where the cartilage is intact. In more advanced lesions where there is loss of cartilage the fibres in the calcified layer are realigned tangential to the surface.


Regional variations in collagen arrangement show that the highly ordered layers of the articular cartilage are the most important elements in supporting high variable loads. In lesions changes occur in the deep tissue whilst the overlying cartilage appeared normal. We therefore suggest that the interface region is a key element in the early stages of the disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center