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J Biomech. 2013 May 31;46(9):1516-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2013.03.026. Epub 2013 Apr 19.

Physeal cartilage exhibits rapid consolidation and recovery in intact knees that are physiologically loaded.

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1
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Korea University, Seoul, South Korea. kurtbain@korea.ac.kr

Abstract

The growth plate (physis) is responsible for long bone growth through endochondral ossification, a process which can be mechanically modulated. However, our understanding of the detailed mechanical behavior of physeal cartilage occurring in vivo is limited. In this study, we aimed to quantify the time-dependent deformational behavior of physeal cartilage in intact knees under physiologically realistic dynamic loading, and compare physeal cartilage deformation with articular cartilage deformation. A 4.7 T MRI scanner continuously scanned a knee joint in the sagittal plane through the central load-bearing region of the medial compartment every 2.5 min while a realistic cyclic loading was applied. A custom auto-segmentation program was developed to delineate complex physeal cartilage boundaries. Physeal volume changes at each time step were calculated. The new auto-segmentation was found to be reproducible with COV of the volume measurements being less than 0.5%. Time-constants of physeal cartilage consolidation (1.31±0.74 min) and recovery (1.63±0.70 min) were significantly smaller than the values (5.53±1.78/17.71±13.88 min for consolidation/recovery) in articular cartilage (P<0.05). The rapid consolidation and recovery of physeal cartilage may due to a relatively free metaphyseal fluid boundary which would allow rapid fluid exchange with the adjacent cancellous bone. This may impair the generation of hydrostatic pressure in the cartilage matrix when the physis is under chronic compressive loading, and may be related to the premature ossification of the growth plate under such conditions. Research on the growth plate fluid exchange may provide a more comprehensive understanding of mechanisms and disorders of long bone growth.

PMID:
23608339
DOI:
10.1016/j.jbiomech.2013.03.026
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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