Journal of orthopaedic research : official publication of the Orthopaedic Research Society

Effect of mechanical convection on the partitioning of an anionic iodinated contrast agent in intact patellar cartilage.

PMID 24961833


To determine if mechanical convection accelerates partitioning of an anionic contrast agent into cartilage while maintaining its ability to reflect the glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content in contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CECT) of cartilage. Bovine patellae (N = 4) were immersed in iothalamate and serially imaged over 24 h of passive diffusion at 34°C. Following saline washing for 14 h, each patella was serially imaged over 2.5 h of mechanical convection by cyclic compressive loading (120N, 1 Hz) while immersed in iothalamate at 34°C. After similar saline washing, each patella was sectioned into 15 blocks (n = 60) and contrast concentration per time point as well as GAG content were determined for each cartilage block. Mechanical convection produced 70.6%, 34.4%, and 16.4% higher contrast concentration at 30, 60, and 90 min, respectively, compared to passive diffusion (p < 0.001) and boosted initial contrast flux 330%. The correlation between contrast concentration and GAG content was significant at all time points and correlation coefficients improved with time, reaching R(2)  = 0.60 after 180 min of passive diffusion and 22.5 min of mechanical convection. Mechanical convection significantly accelerated partitioning of a contrast agent into healthy cartilage while maintaining strong correlations with GAG content, providing an evidence-based rationale for adopting walking regimens in CECT imaging protocols.