Interspecies comparison of subchondral bone properties important for cartilage repair

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Abstract

Microfracture repair tissue in young adult humans and in rabbit trochlea is frequently of higher quality than in corresponding ovine or horse models or in the rabbit medial femoral condyle (MFC). This may be related to differences in subchondral properties since repair is initiated from the bone. We tested the hypothesis that subchondral bone from rabbit trochlea and the human MFC are structurally similar. Trochlea and MFC samples from rabbit, sheep, and horse were micro-CT scanned and histoprocessed. Samples were also collected from normal and lesional areas of human MFC. The subchondral bone of the rabbit trochlea was the most similar to human MFC, where both had a relatively thin bone plate and a more porous and less dense character of subchondral bone. MFC from animals all displayed thicker bone plates, denser and less porous bone and thicker trabeculae, which may be more representative of older or osteoarthritic patients, while both sheep trochlear ridges and the horse lateral trochlea shared some structural features with human MFC. Since several cartilage repair procedures rely on subchondral bone for repair, subchondral properties should be accounted for when choosing animal models to study and test procedures that are intended for human cartilage repair. © 2014 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 33:63–70, 2015.

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