Genipin crosslinking decreases the mechanical wear and biochemical degradation of impacted cartilage in vitro

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Abstract

High energy trauma to cartilage causes surface fissures and microstructural damage, but the degree to which this damage renders the tissue more susceptible to wear and contributes to the progression of post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA) is unknown. Additionally, no treatments are currently available to strengthen cartilage after joint trauma and to protect the tissue from subsequent degradation and wear. The purposes of this study were to investigate the role of mechanical damage in the degradation and wear of cartilage, to evaluate the effects of impact and subsequent genipin crosslinking on the changes in the viscoelastic parameters of articular cartilage, and to test the hypothesis that genipin crosslinking is an effective treatment to enhance the resistance to biochemical degradation and mechanical wear. Results demonstrate that cartilage stiffness decreases after impact loading, likely due to the formation of fissures and microarchitectural damage, and is partially or fully restored by crosslinking. The wear resistance of impacted articular cartilage was diminished compared to undamaged cartilage, suggesting that mechanical damage that is directly induced by the impact may contribute to the progression of PTOA. However, the decrease in wear resistance was completely reversed by the crosslinking treatments. Additionally, the crosslinking treatments improved the resistance to collagenase digestion at the impact-damaged articular surface. These results highlight the potential therapeutic value of collagen crosslinking via genipin in the prevention of cartilage degeneration after traumatic injury. © 2016 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res

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