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Tissue Cell. 2013 Aug;45(4):275-81. doi: 10.1016/j.tice.2013.02.003. Epub 2013 May 4.

Evaluation of the effects of electrical stimulation on cartilage repair in adult male rats.

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Programa de Pós-graduação em Ciências Biomédicas, Centro Universitário Hermínio Ometto, Av. Dr. Maximiliano Baruto, 500 Jd. Universitário, 13607-339 Araras, SP, Brazil.


This study describes the organization of mature hyaline xiphoid cartilage during repair in animals submitted to electrical current stimulation. Twenty male Wistar rats, 90 days old, were divided into a control group (CG) and a treated group (TG). A cylindrical full-thickness cartilage defects were created with a 3-mm punch in anesthetized animals. After 24h, TG received daily applications of a continuous electrical current (1Hz/20μA) for 5min. The animals were sacrificed after 7, 21 and 35 days for structural analysis. In CG, the repair tissue presented fibrous characteristics, with fibroblastic cells being infiltrated and permeated by blood vessels. Basophilic foci of cartilage tissue were observed on day 35. In TG, the repair tissue also presented fibrous characteristics, but a larger number of thick collagen fibers were seen on day 21. A large number of cartilaginous nests were observed on day 35. Cell numbers were significantly higher in TG. Calcification points were detected in TG on day 35. There was no difference in elastic fibers between groups. Ultrastructural analysis revealed the presence of chondrocyte-like cells in CG at all time points, but only on days 21 and 35 in TG. The amount of cuprolinic blue-stained proteoglycans was higher in TG on day 35. Microcurrent stimulation accelerates the repair process in non-articular hyaline cartilage.

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