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J Orthop Res. 2013 May;31(5):686-91. doi: 10.1002/jor.22303. Epub 2012 Dec 31.

Anatomic variation of depth-dependent mechanical properties in neonatal bovine articular cartilage.

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Department of Physics, Cornell University, C10 Clark Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853-2501, USA.


Articular cartilage has well known depth-dependent structure and has recently been shown to have similarly non-uniform depth-dependent mechanical properties. Here, we study anatomic variation of the depth-dependent shear modulus and energy dissipation rate in neonatal bovine knees. The regions we specifically focus on are the patellofemoral groove, trochlea, femoral condyle, and tibial plateau. In every sample, we find a highly compliant region within the first 500 µm of tissue measured from the articular surface, where the local shear modulus is reduced by up to two orders of magnitude. Comparing measurements taken from different anatomic sites, we find statistically significant differences localized within the first 50 µm. Histological images reveal these anatomic variations are associated with differences in collagen density and fiber organization.

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