Author(s): Hurtig MB, Fretz PB, Doige CE, Schnurr DL
Abstract Share this page
Abstract The mechanisms and completeness of equine articular cartilage repair were studied in ten horses over a nine month period. Large (15 mm square) and small (5 mm square) full-thickness lesions were made in weight bearing and nonweight bearing areas of the radiocarpal, middle carpal and femoropatellar joints. The horses were euthanized in groups of two 1, 2.5, 4, 5 and 9 months later. Gross pathology, microradiography, and histopathology were used to evaluate qualitative aspects of articular repair. Computer assisted microdensitometry of safranin-O stained cartilage sections was used to quantitate cartilage matrix proteoglycan levels. Structural repair had occurred in most small defects at the end of nine months by a combination of matrix flow and extrinsic repair mechanisms. Elaboration of matrix proteoglycans was not complete at this time. Statistically better healing occurred in small weight bearing lesions, compared to large or nonweight bearing lesions. Synovial and perichondrial pannus interfered with healing of osteochondral defects that were adjacent to the cranial rim of the third carpal bone. Clinical and experimental experience suggests that these lesions are unlikely to heal, whereas similar lesions in the radiocarpal and femoropatellar joints had satisfactory outcomes. Observations made in this study support the use of early postoperative ambulation, passive flexion of operated joints, and recuperative periods of up to a year for large cartilage defects.
This article was published in Can J Vet Res
and referenced in Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine