A nearly avascular tissue, the knee meniscus relies on diffusive transport for nutritional supply to cells. Nutrient transport depends on solute partitioning in the tissue, which governs the amount of nutrients that can enter a tissue. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of mechanical strain, tissue region, and tissue composition on the partition coefficient of glucose in meniscus fibrocartilage. A simple partitioning experiment was employed to measure glucose partitioning in porcine meniscus tissues from two regions (horn and central), from both meniscal components (medial and lateral), and at three levels of compression (0%, 10%, and 20%). Partition coefficient values were correlated to strain level, water volume fraction, and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content of tissue specimens. Partition coefficient values ranged from 0.47 to 0.91 (n = 48). Results show that glucose partition coefficient is significantly (p < 0.001) affected by compression, decreasing with increasing strain. Furthermore, we did not find a statistically significant effect of tissue when comparing medial versus lateral (p = 0.181) or when comparing central and horn regions (p = 0.837). There were significant positive correlations between tissue water volume fraction and glucose partitioning for all groups. However, the correlation between GAG content and partitioning was only significant in the lateral horn group. Determining how glucose partitioning is affected by tissue composition and loading is necessary for understanding nutrient availability and related tissue health and/or degeneration. Therefore, this study is important for better understanding the transport and nutrition-related mechanisms of meniscal degeneration.

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