Assessment of changes in the meniscus and subchondral bone in a novel closed-joint impact and surgical reconstruction lapine model


Despite reconstruction surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), patients often still show signs of post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA) years following the procedure. The goal of this study was to document changes in the meniscus and subchondral bone due to closed-joint impact and surgical reconstruction in a lapine model. Animals received insult to the joint followed by surgical reconstruction of the ACL and partial meniscectomy. Following euthanasia of the animals at 1, 3, and 6-months post-impact, meniscal tissue was assessed for changes in morphology, mechanical properties and proteoglycan content. Femurs and tibias were scanned via micro-computed tomography to determine changes in bone quality, morphometry, and formation of osteophytes. Both the lateral and medial menisci showed severe degradation and tearing at all-time points, with higher degree of degeneration being observed at 6-months. Decreases in both the instantaneous and equilibrium modulus were documented in both menisci. Minimal changes were found in bone quality and morphometry, with most change documented in the tibia. Bones from the reconstructed limbs showed large volumes of osteophyte formations, with an increase in volume over time. The initial changes that were representative of PTOA may have been limited to the meniscus, but at later time points consistent changes due to the disease were seen in both tissues. This study, which builds on a previous study by this laboratory, suggests that the addition of surgical reconstruction of the ACL to our model was not sufficient to prevent the development of PTOA.

Publication Title

Journal of Biomechanics