METHODS: In this study, we investigated the response of cartilage to the trauma sustained during extraction and determined the time needed for the cartilage to stabilize. Explants were extracted aseptically from bovine metacarpal-phalangeal joints and cultured for up to 17 days.
RESULTS: The cell viability, cell number, proteoglycan content, and collagen content of the harvested explants were analyzed at 0, 2, 10, and 17 days after explantation. A high percentage of the cartilage explants were found to be viable. The cell density initially increased significantly but stabilized after two days. The proteoglycan content decreased gradually over time, but it did not decrease to a significant level due to leakage through the distorted peripheral collagen network and into the bathing medium. The collagen content remained stable for most of the culture period until it dropped abruptly on day 17.
CONCLUSION: Overall, the tested cartilage explants were sustainable over long-term culture. They were most stable from day 2 to day 10. The degradation of the collagen on day 17 did not reach diseased levels, but it indicated the potential of the cultures to develop into degenerated cartilage. These findings have implications for the application of cartilage explants in pathophysiological fields.
METHODS: Knee joint cartilages harvested from mature and immature animals were used for their distinct collagenous fibrous structure and composition. The cartilages were cut through thickness, indented over the cracked region, and processed histologically. Sample-specific birefringence was quantified as two-dimensional (2D) maps of azimuth and retardance, two measures related to local orientation and degree of alignment of the collagen fibers, respectively. The shape of mechanically indented tissue cracks, measured as depth-dependent crack opening, were compared with azimuth, retardance, or "PLM index," a new parameter derived by combining azimuth and retardance.
RESULTS: Of the three parameters, only the PLM index consistently correlated with the crack shape in immature and mature tissues.
CONCLUSION: In conclusion, we identified the relative roles of azimuth and retardance on the deformation of tissue cracks, with azimuth playing the dominant role. The applicability of the PLM index should be tested in future studies using naturally-occurring tissue cracks.
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