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J Anat. 1984 May;138 ( Pt 3):435-46.

Temporary immobilisation facilitates repair of chemically induced articular cartilage injury.


Recent studies have indicated that immobilisation of the lower limb may prevent surface fibrillation and osteophyte formation, and reduce cell depletion, following injection of iodoacetate into the ipsilateral knee of the guinea-pig. The present study shows that temporary immobilisation also facilitates repair of the damaged cartilage during a subsequent period of remobilisation in which the animal is permitted to move 'on all fours'. Thus, in animals killed six weeks after a single intra-articular injection of iodoacetate (0.3 mg in 0.1 ml saline), and in which the injected knee had been immobilised for three weeks, Safranin-O staining of the articular cartilage was more intense, chondrocyte density greater, and osteophytosis much less marked than in animals injected with iodoacetate but killed immediately after the three weeks immobilisation period. By contrast, immobilisation for only one week failed to protect against degenerative changes and osteophytes caused by iodoacetate injection. Immobilisation alone produced no apparent pathological changes in animals which did not receive iodoacetate.

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