Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2018 Apr 25;13(4):e0196203. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196203. eCollection 2018.

Site-specific glycosaminoglycan content is better maintained in the pericellular matrix than the extracellular matrix in early post-traumatic osteoarthritis.

Author information

Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland.
Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.
Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering, Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary, AB, Calgary, Canada.
Human performance laboratory, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, AB, Calgary, Canada.
Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland.



One of the characteristics of early osteoarthritis (OA) is the loss of fixed charged density (FCD) of glycosaminoglycans in the superficial zone of articular cartilage. However, possible local changes in the FCD content of the pericellular matrix (PCM) are not fully understood. Hence, our aim was to investigate the effect of unilateral anterior cruciate ligament transection (ACLT) in rabbit knees on estimated FCD in the PCM compared to that in the ECM, and relate these results with cell morphology.


Articular cartilage samples were collected from ACLT, contralateral and intact control knee joints from lateral and medial femoral condyles and tibial plateaus, and from the femoral groove and patella. Histological samples were prepared and stained with Safranin-O to estimate the FCD content around the chondrocytes in the PCM and the ECM with digital densitometry.


As a result of ACLT, the greatest decreases in the FCD content of the PCM were observed in the superficial zone of the lateral femoral condyle (p = 0.02), medial tibial plateau (p = 0.002) and patellar (p < 0.001) cartilage. The normalized FCD content of the PCM compared to the surrounding ECM was increased most in the femoral condyles (p < 0.01) and medial tibial plateau (p = 0.02) cartilage. The high normalized FCD content of the PCM in the superficial zone of lateral femoral condyle cartilage was consistent with the round cell morphology in that location.


In conclusion, we suggest that certain sites in the knee joint, particularly the lateral femoral condyle cartilage, experience less FCD loss in the PCM than in the ECM in early post-traumatic OA, which could lead to altered cell shape.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center