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Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2010 Dec;293(12):1991-2000. doi: 10.1002/ar.21296.

Regional and zonal histo-morphological characteristics of the lapine menisci.

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  • 1Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Department, Soft Tissue Mechanics Laboratory, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan, USA.


The menisci have crucial weight-bearing roles in the knee. Regional variations in structure and cellularity of the meniscus have only been minimally investigated. Therefore, the goal of this study was to illustrate the regional cell density, tissue area, and structure of healthy lapine menisci. Skeletally mature Flemish Giant rabbits were used for this study. Upon sacrifice, menisci were removed, fixed in formalin, and cryosectioned. Histological analysis was performed for the detection of sulfated glycosaminoglycans (GAG), collagen Types I and II, cellular density, and tissue area. ANOVA and paired t tests were used for testing of statistical significance. Glycosaminoglycan coverage of the medial meniscus significantly varied between regions, with the anterior region demonstrating significantly more GAG coverage than the posterior region. Inter- and intra-meniscal comparisons revealed variations between zones, with trends that outer zones of the medial menisci had less GAG coverage. Collagen Types I and II had marked characteristics and varying degrees of coverage across regions. Tissue area varied between regions for both medial and lateral menisci. Cellular density was dependent on region in the lateral meniscus. This is the first study to illustrate regional and zonal variation in glycosaminoglycan coverage, size, and cellular density for healthy lapine meniscal tissue. This data provides baseline information for future investigations in meniscal injury models in rabbits.

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