Nanoindentation of the insertional zones of human meniscal attachments into underlying bone


The fibrocartilagenous knee menisci are situated between the femoral condyles and tibia plateau and are primarily anchored to the tibia by means of four attachments at the anterior and posterior horns. Strong fixation of meniscal attachments to the tibial plateau provide resistance to extruding forces of the meniscal body, allowing the menisci to assist in load transmission from the femur to the tibia. Clinically, tears and ruptures of the meniscal attachments and insertion to bone are rare. While it has been suggested that the success of a meniscal replacement is dependent on several factors, one of which is the secure fixation and firm attachment of the replacement to the tibial plateau, little is known about the material properties of meniscal attachments and the transition in material properties from the meniscus to subchondral bone. The objective of this study was to use nanoindentation to investigate the transition from meniscal attachment into underlying subchondral bone through uncalcified and calcified fibrocartilage. Nanoindentation tests were performed on both the anterior and posterior meniscal insertions to measure the instantaneous elastic modulus and elastic modulus at infinite time. The elastic moduli were found to increase in a bi-linear fashion from the external ligamentous attachment to the subchondral bone. The elastic moduli for the anterior attachments were consistently larger than those for the matching posterior attachments at similar indentation locations. These results show that there is a gradient of stiffness from the superficial zones of the insertion close to the ligamentous attachment into the deeper zones of the bone. This information will be useful in the continued development of successful meniscal replacements and understanding of fixation of the replacements to the tibial plateau. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials