Exposure to excessive stress is associated with the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis, a joint disease involved in the degeneration of articular cartilage. Mechanical properties of mature articular cartilage are known to be depth zone-dependent. Although chondrocyte death was observed in articular cartilage after excessive stress loading in vitro, few studies have investigated the correlation between chondrocyte death and local mechanical strains in a depth dependent manner. Here, we developed a real-time observation system of cut cartilage samples under an excessive stress loading (18 MPa) at low (3.5%/s) and high (35%/s) strain rates on the microscope stage, which is regarded as injurious compression in vivo. Using this system, real-time monitoring of local deformations was conducted during compression, and local chondrocyte death was investigated after short-term culture. The results showed that the dead cells were mainly observed in the surface layer at a high strain rate. In contrast, the dead cells were relatively concentrated not in the surface layer but in the middle layer at a low strain rate. The local strain measurements showed that the dead cell distributions were correlated with depth-dependent local strain rates at both low and high strain rates. Moreover, when the surface layer was removed, both depth-dependence in dead cell distributions and in local strain rates disappeared at low and high strain rates. Although the mechanisms underlying mechanically induced osteoarthritis are still elusive, those results suggest a correlation between local chondrocyte death and transient strain rates in a depth dependent manner, and the surface layer played a crucial role in regulating chondrocyte damages and local strains in middle and deep layers. Our study, therefore, could contribute to an analytical understanding of cartilage degeneration under excessive stress loadings.
|Journal||Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2020|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering
- Mechanics of Materials