Author(s): Kb MJ, Gwynn IA, Ntzli HP, Kb MJ, Gwynn IA, Ntzli HP
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Abstract Experimental animal models are frequently used to study articular cartilage, but the relevance to man remains problematic. In this study animal models were compared by examination of the collagen fibre arrangement in the medial tibial plateau of human, cow, pig, dog, sheep, rabbit and rat specimens. 24 cartilage samples from each species were prepared and maximum cartilage thickness in the central tibial plateau measured. Samples were fixed, dehydrated, freeze-fractured and imaged by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). At low magnification, 2 different arrangements of collagen fibres were observed: leaf-like (human, pig, dog) and columnar (cow, sheep, rabbit, rat). The porcine collagen structure was the most similar to that of man. This arrangement was consistent from the radial to the upper zones. Under higher magnification at the surface of the leaves, the collagen was more randomly oriented, whereas the columns consisted of parallel collagen fibrils. The maximum thickness of cartilage did not correlate with the type of collagen arrangement but was correlated with the body weight of the species (r = 0.785). When using animal models for investigating human articular cartilage function or pathology, the differences in arrangement of collagen fibres in tibial plateau cartilage between laboratory animals should be considered especially if morphological evaluation is planned.
This article was published in J Anat
and referenced in Journal of Osteoarthritis