University of Oulu

I.A.D. Mancini, L. Rieppo, B. Pouran, I.O. Afara, F.M. Serra Braganca, M.H.P. van Rijen, M. Kik, H. Weinans, J. Toyras, P.R. van Weeren, J. Malda, Effects of body mass on microstructural features of the osteochondral unit: A comparative analysis of 37 mammalian species, Bone, Volume 127, 2019, Pages 664-673, ISSN 8756-3282,

Effects of scaling on microstructural features of the osteochondral unit : a comparative analysis of 38 mammalian species

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Author: Mancini, I. A. D.1,2; Rieppo, L.3; Pouran, B.2,4,5;
Organizations: 1Department of Equine Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
2Regenerative Medicine Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
3Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Department of Orthopedics, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands
5Department of Biomechanical Engineering, TU, Delft, the Netherlands
6Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
7Department of Pathobiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
8Diagnostic Imaging Centre, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland
9School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-07-03


Since Galileo’s days the effect of size on the anatomical characteristics of the structural elements of the body has been a subject of interest. However, the effects of scaling at tissue level have received little interest and virtually no data exist on the subject with respect to the osteochondral unit in the joint, despite this being one of the most lesion-prone and clinically relevant parts of the musculoskeletal system.

Imaging techniques, including Fourier transform infrared imaging, polarized light microscopy and micro computed tomography, were combined to study the response to increasing body mass of the osteochondral unit. We analyzed the effect of scaling on structural characteristics of articular cartilage, subchondral plate and the supporting trabecular bone, across a wide range of mammals at microscopic level.

We demonstrated that, while total cartilage thickness scales to body mass in a negative allometric fashion, thickness of different cartilage layers did not. Cartilage tissue layers were found to adapt to increasing loads principally in the deep zone with the superficial layers becoming relatively thinner. Subchondral plate thickness was found to have no correlation to body mass, nor did bone volume fraction. The underlying trabecular bone was found to have thicker trabeculae (r = 0.75, p < 0.001), as expected since this structure carries most loads and plays a role in force mitigation.

The results of this study suggest that the osteochondral tissue structure has remained remarkably preserved across mammalian species during evolution, and that in particular, the trabecular bone carries the adaptation to the increasing body mass.

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Series: Bone
ISSN: 8756-3282
ISSN-E: 8756-3282
ISSN-L: 8756-3282
Volume: 127
Pages: 664 - 673
DOI: 10.1016/j.bone.2019.07.001
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3111 Biomedicine
3126 Surgery, anesthesiology, intensive care, radiology
413 Veterinary science
Funding: The research leading to these results has received fundingfrom the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under grant agreement 309962 (HydroZONES) and theDutch Arthritis Foundation (LLP-12 and LLP-22).
Copyright information: © 2019 Published by Elsevier Inc. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license