Journal of biomechanics

Biomarkers affected by impact velocity and maximum strain of cartilage during injury.

PMID 25005436


Osteoarthritis is one of the most common, debilitating, musculoskeletal diseases; 12% associated with traumatic injury resulting in post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA). Our objective was to develop a single impact model with cartilage "injury level" defined in terms of controlled combinations of strain rate to a maximum strain (both independent of cartilage load resistance) to study their sensitivity to articular cartilage cell viability and potential PTOA biomarkers. A servo-hydraulic test machine was used to measure canine humeral head cartilage explant thickness under repeatable pressure, then subject it (except sham and controls) to a single impact having controlled constant velocity V=1 or 100mm/s (strain rate 1.82 or 182/s) to maximum strain ε=10%, 30%, or 50%. Thereafter, explants were cultured in media for twelve days, with media changed at day 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 12. Explant thickness was measured at day 0 (pre-injury), 6 and 12 (post-injury). Cell viability, and tissue collagen and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) were analyzed immediately post-injury and day 12. Culture media were tested for biomarkers: GAG, collagen II, chondroitin sulfate-846, nitric oxide, and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). Detrimental effects on cell viability, and release of GAG and PGE2 to the media were primarily strain-dependent, (PGE2 being more prolonged and sensitive at lower strains). The cartilage injury model appears to be useful (possibly superior) for investigating the relationship between impact severity of injury and the onset of PTOA, specifically for discovery of biomarkers to evaluate the risk of developing clinical PTOA, and to compare effective treatments for arthritis prevention.