University of Oulu

Oinas, J., Ronkainen, A., Rieppo, L., Finnilä, M., Iivarinen, J., van Weeren, P., Helminen, H., Brama, P., Korhonen, R., Saarakkala, S. (2018) Composition, structure and tensile biomechanical properties of equine articular cartilage during growth and maturation. Scientific Reports, 8 (1), 11357. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-29655-5

Composition, structure and tensile biomechanical properties of equine articular cartilage during growth and maturation

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Author: Oinas, J.1,2; Ronkainen, A. P.3; Rieppo, L.1,2,3;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu
2Medical Research Center, University of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital
3Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland
4Institute of Biomedicine, University of Eastern Finland
5Department of Equine Sciences, University of Utrecht
6Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin
7Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Oulu University Hospital
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 3.3 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-09-20


Articular cartilage undergoes structural and biochemical changes during maturation, but the knowledge on how these changes relate to articular cartilage function at different stages of maturation is lacking. Equine articular cartilage samples of four different maturation levels (newborn, 5-month-old, 11-month-old and adult) were collected (N = 25). Biomechanical tensile testing, Fourier transform infrared microspectroscopy (FTIR-MS) and polarized light microscopy were used to study the tensile, biochemical and structural properties of articular cartilage, respectively. The tensile modulus was highest and the breaking energy lowest in the newborn group. The collagen and the proteoglycan contents increased with age. The collagen orientation developed with age into an arcade-like orientation. The collagen content, proteoglycan content, and collagen orientation were important predictors of the tensile modulus (p < 0.05 in multivariable regression) and correlated significantly also with the breaking energy (p < 0.05 in multivariable regression). Partial least squares regression analysis of FTIR-MS data provided accurate predictions for the tensile modulus (r = 0.79) and the breaking energy (r = 0.65). To conclude, the composition and structure of equine articular cartilage undergoes changes with depth that alter functional properties during maturation, with the typical properties of mature tissue reached at the age of 5–11 months.

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Series: Scientific reports
ISSN: 2045-2322
ISSN-E: 2045-2322
ISSN-L: 2045-2322
Volume: 8
Article number: 11357
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-29655-5
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3111 Biomedicine
Funding: The financial support from the Academy of Finland (Grants No. 268378, 273571, 286526); the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program (FP/2007–2013)/ERC Grant Agreement No. 336267; the Orion research foundation; the Finnish cultural foundation; and strategic funding of the University of Oulu are acknowledged.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 268378
Detailed Information: 268378 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
273571 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
286526 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Dataset Reference: Supplementary materials:
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