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Age matters: collagen birefringence of superficial articular cartilage is increased in young guinea-pigs but decreased in older animals after identical physiological type of joint loading.
Department of Anatomy, University of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland.
Department of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland.
Department of Anatomy, University of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland.
Department of Anatomy, University of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland. (Chondrogenic and Osteogenic Differentiation Group)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6181-9904
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2001 (English)In: Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, ISSN 1063-4584, E-ISSN 1522-9653, Vol. 9, no 8, 694-701 p., 11795988Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

OBJECTIVE: To compare responses of the collagen network and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) of articular cartilage to physiological type of joint loading in young growing and adult mature guinea-pigs.

DESIGN: 10- and 44-week-old guinea-pigs were accustomed to treadmill running for 3 weeks. Thereafter the animals ran 2500 m/day, 5 days a week, for 15 weeks. Articular cartilage specimens from knee joints were collected at 28 and 62 weeks. Osteoarthritis (OA) prevalence and severity was evaluated by aid of light microscopy. The degree of collagen fibril network organization and content was analyzed with quantitative polarized light microscopy. The local concentration of GAGs was determined from cartilage sections with digital densitometry after safranin-O staining.

RESULTS: In the young guinea-pigs, running increased up to 24% the optical retardation of polarized light by collagen in the superficial articular cartilage of femur, indicating either a higher degree of fibril assembly and organization or increased amount of collagen, or both. In contrast, in the adult mature animals the optical retardation decreased almost 50% after joint loading (P< 0.01-0.001). Running did not increase cartilage fibrillation. Significant changes in GAG content of cartilage were not found either in the young or adult mature runners.

CONCLUSIONS: Increased birefringence of the superficial articular cartilage after joint loading in young guinea-pigs can be interpreted to be a sign of improved and decreased birefringence in older animals a sign of worsened property of the collagen network. It can be suggested therefore that joint loading strengthened the collagen network in the young runners. It can be hypothesized further that with time the inferior property of the collagen network predisposes the older runners to earlier OA than in controls.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Saunders Elsevier, 2001. Vol. 9, no 8, 694-701 p., 11795988
Keyword [en]
Articular cartilage, exercise, ageing, collagen, proteoglycans, guinea pig
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences Cell and Molecular Biology Orthopedics
Research subject
cellforskning; Orthopaedics
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-107132DOI: 10.1053/joca.2001.0466PubMedID: 11795988OAI: diva2:847118
Available from: 2015-08-19 Created: 2015-08-19 Last updated: 2015-08-19

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Lammi, Mikko
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