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Effects of mechanical loading and immobilization on the articular cartilage
Department of Surgery, Jyväskylä Central Hospital, Jyväskylä, Finland.
Department of Anatomy, University of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland.
Department of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland.
Department of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland.
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1997 (English)In: Bailliere's Clinical Orthopaedics, ISSN 1074-8814, Vol. 2, no 1, 109-122 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Articular cartilage provides nearly frictionless surfaces for joint movemants and reduces contact pressures, protecting the underlying suchondral bone from excess stress. The unique properties of articular cartilage are based on the interaction of the main components of the extracellular matrix: proteoglycans (PGs), collagen and interstitial fluid. Animal experiments and in vitro studies demonstrate that one of the most important regulators of the extracellular matrix metabolism is mechanical loading acting on the joints. Unloading and immobilization leads to PG depletion and softening of articular cartilage, increasing the risk of permanent cartilage degeneration. Moderate running exercise and increased weight bearing increases cartilage thickness, PG concentration and improves biomechanical properties of articular cartilage. With further increase in training intensity this positive influence of exercise disappears and cartilage shows changes analogous to immobilization of the joint, i.e. PG depletion and softening of the tissue. In humans most epidemiological studies  have failed to prove the connection between running training and cartilage degeneration, but there is evidence that sports activities exposing joints to impact loading might increase the risk of osteoarthrosis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1997. Vol. 2, no 1, 109-122 p.
Keyword [en]
Articular cartilage, exercise, immobilization, remobilization, proteoglycans, biomechanics
National Category
Orthopedics Biological Sciences
Research subject
Biochemistry; biomechanics; Orthopaedics
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-107978OAI: diva2:850038
Available from: 2015-08-31 Created: 2015-08-31 Last updated: 2015-08-31

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Lammi, Mikko
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