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Phytother Res. 2011 Aug;25(8):1133-40. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3410. Epub 2011 Feb 1.

Micro-morphometrical assessment of the effect of Harpagophytum procumbens extract on articular cartilage in rabbits with experimental osteoarthritis using magnetic resonance imaging.

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Institute of Medical Physics, University of Erlangen, Germany.


In vitro effects indicate a putative beneficial effect of Harpagophytum procumbens on cartilage turnover, however, in vivo protective effects on cartilage have yet to be demonstrated. A 7.1T MRI scanner was used to derive measurements of thickness, surface area and volume of the tibial condylar cartilage and to assess their precision (in the case of volume also accuracy) against the volumes of dissected cartilage measured by water displacement. Quantitative measurements were made in 16 rabbits, 6 months after unilateral medial meniscectomy and transection of the anterior cruciate ligament, after which eight of these were given a proprietary extract of Harpagophytum procumbens (HP). A semiquantitative MRI-based grading of the tibial cartilage was also compared with a 'macroscopic' grading based on direct visual inspection of dissected joints. The test-retest precision for MRI-based measurement was ≤6.4%. MRI-based measurements correlated well with volumes of surgically resected cartilage (r =  0.97, pair-wise random difference 4.2%). The medial tibial cartilage thickness and volume were about 35% smaller in the operated knees than in the non-operated contralateral knees (p < 0.05). The findings suggest that MRI is a precise and accurate tool for evaluating cartilage in a rabbit model of OA. The difference between the intact and operated knee in thickness and volume of the medial tibial cartilage was slightly but not significantly smaller in the HP-treated group than in the non-treated group.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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