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J Arthroplasty. 1995 Oct;10(5):679-82.

Neural system of the human posterior cruciate ligament in osteoarthritis.

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Institute of Anatomic Pathology, University of Florence, Italy.


The purpose of this study was to quantify the neural elements in a group of posterior cruciate ligaments from osteoarthritic patients in comparison with normal subjects. Nine ligaments obtained from total knee arthroplasty procedures and five control ligaments from amputated limbs or fresh cadavers were stained with gold chloride. The percentage area occupied by the receptors and the neural network was determined by means of a computer-assisted image analyzer. A significant reduction of the neural elements was observed in the group of ligaments from osteoarthritic patients (0.44 +/- 0.132 SEM vs 0.958 +/- 0.13 SEM, P = .001). The loss of mechanoceptors and the consequent reduction of neural afferences may reduce the functional stability of the joint, participating in the osteoarthritic degenerative process.

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