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Bone., 2008; 43(6): 1108-14, PMID: 18757048

Changes in subchondral bone mineral density and collagen matrix organization in growing horses

Jahr: 2008

Holopainen JT, Brama PA, Halmesmäki E, Harjula T, Tuukkanen J, van Weeren PR, Helminen HJ, Hyttinen MM
Department of Anatomy, Institute of Biomedicine, University of Kuopio, Finland.


OBJECTIVE: The effects of growth and maturation on the mineral deposition and the collagen framework of equine subchondral bone (SCB) were studied. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Osteochondral specimens (diameter 6 mm) from the left metacarpophalangeal joint of 5-(n=8), 11-(n=8) and 18-month-old (n=6) horses were investigated at two differently loaded sites (Site 1 (S1): intermittent peak loading; Site 2 (S2): habitual loading). The SCB mineral density (BMD) was measured with peripheral quantitative computer tomography (pQCT), and the data were adjusted against the volume fraction (Vv) of the bone extracellular matrix (ECM). Polarised light microscopy (PLM) was used to analyze the Vv, the collagen fibril parallelism index and the orientation angle distribution in two fractions (1 mm/fraction) beneath the osteochondral junction of the SCB. PLM analysis was made along two randomly selected perpendicularly oriented vertical sections to measure the tissue anisotropy in the x-, y-, and z-directions. RESULTS: The BMD of SCB at S1 and S2 increased significantly during maturation. At the same time, the Vv of the ECM increased even more. This meant that the Vv-adjusted BMD decreased. There were no significant differences between sites. The basic collagen fibril framework of SCB seems to be established already at the age of 5 months. During maturation, the extracellular matrix underwent a decrease in collagen fibril parallelism but no changes in collagen orientation. The variation was negligible in the collagen network estimates in the two section planes. CONCLUSIONS: Growth and maturation induce significant changes in the equine SCB. The BMD increase in SCB is primarily due to the growth of bone volume and not to any increase in mineral deposition. An increase in weight-bearing appears to greatly affect the BMD and the volume of the extracellular matrix. Growth and maturation induce a striking change in collagen fibril parallelism but not in fibril orientation. The structural anisotropy of the subchondral bone is significant along the vertical (x-y) direction but not in the transversal (z) direction.

GID: 1665; Letzte Änderung: 12.12.2008