Background: Chondral defects may lead to degradative changes in the surrounding cartilage, predisposing patients to developing osteoarthritis. Purpose: To quantify changes in the biomechanical and biochemical properties of the articular cartilage adjacent to chondral defects after experimental defect repair. Study Design: Controlled laboratory study. Methods: Specimens were harvested from tissue within (lesion), immediately adjacent to, and at a distance from (remote area) a full-thickness cartilage defect 8 months after cartilage repair with genetically modified chondrocytes expressing insulin-like growth factor-I or unmodified, control chondrocytes. Biomechanical properties, including instantaneous Young's and equilibrium aggregate moduli, were determined by confined compression testing. Biochemical properties, such as water and proteoglycan content, were also measured. Results: The instantaneous Young's modulus, equilibrium modulus, and proteoglycan content increased, whereas water content decreased with increasing distance from the repaired lesion. The instantaneous Young's and equilibrium moduli of the adjacent articular cartilage were 80% and 50% that of remote area samples, respectively, whereas water content increased 0.9% and proteoglycan content was decreased by 35%. No significant changes in biomechanical and biochemical properties were found either in the lesion tissue or in adjacent cartilage with genetic modification of the chondrocytes. Conclusion: Articular cartilage adjacent to repaired chondral defects showed significant remodeling 8 months after chondral defect repair, regardless of whether genetically modified or unmodified cells were implanted. Clinical Relevance: Changes in the biochemical and biomechanical properties of articular cartilage adjacent to repaired chondral defects may represent remodeling as part of an adaptive process or degeneration secondary to an altered distribution of joint forces. Quantification of these changes could provide important parameters for assessing progress after operative chondral defect repair.
- Articular cartilage
- Biochemical and biomechanical properties
- Chondral defect repair
- Confined compression testing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation