Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Biomed Eng. 2017 Apr;45(4):973-981. doi: 10.1007/s10439-016-1756-6. Epub 2016 Nov 8.

Solute Transport of Negatively Charged Contrast Agents Across Articular Surface of Injured Cartilage.

Author information

Department of Radiology, Lappeenranta Central Hospital, Valto Käkelän katu 3, 53130, Lappeenranta, Finland.
Department of Chemical Engineering, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland.
Diagnostic Imaging Center, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland.


Solute transport through the extracellular matrix (ECM) is crucial to chondrocyte metabolism. Cartilage injury affects solute transport in cartilage due to alterations in ECM structure and solute-matrix interactions. Therefore, cartilage injury may be detected by using contrast agent-based clinical imaging. In the present study, effects of mechanical injury on transport of negatively charged contrast agents in cartilage were characterized. Using cartilage plugs injured by mechanical compression protocol, effective partition coefficients and diffusion fluxes of iodine- and gadolinium-based contrast agents were measured using high resolution microCT imaging. For all contrast agents studied, effective diffusion fluxes increased significantly, particularly at early times during the diffusion process (38 and 33% increase after 4 min, P < 0.05 for iodine and Gd-DTPA; and 76% increase after 10 min for diatrizoate, P < 0.05). Effective partition coefficients were unaffected in mechanically injured cartilage. Mechanical injury reduced PG content and collagen integrity in cartilage superficial zone. This study suggests that alterations in contrast agent diffusion flux, a non-equilibrium transport parameter, provides a more sensitive indicator for assessment of cartilage matrix integrity than partition coefficient and the equilibrium distribution of solute. These findings may help in developing clinical methods of contrast agent-based imaging to detect cartilage injury.


Articular cartilage; Contrast agent; Effective diffusivity; Effective partition coefficient; Mechanical injury; Solute transport

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center