With the onset and progression of osteoarthritis (OA), articular cartilage (AC) mechanical properties are altered. These alterations can serve as an objective measure of tissue degradation. Although the mouse is a common and useful animal model for studying OA, it is extremely challenging to measure the mechanical properties of murine AC due to its small size (thickness < 50 μm). In this study, we developed novel and direct approach to independently quantify two quasi-static mechanical properties of mouse AC: the load-dependent (nonlinear) solid matrix Young's modulus (E) and drained Poisson's ratio (ν). The technique involves confocal microscope-based multiaxial strain mapping of compressed, intact murine AC followed by inverse finite element analysis (iFEA) to determine E and ν. Importantly, this approach yields estimates of E and ν that are independent of the initial guesses used for iterative optimization. As a proof of concept, mechanical properties of AC on the medial femoral condyles of wild-type mice were obtained for both trypsin-treated and control specimens. After proteolytic tissue degradation induced through trypsin treatment, a dramatic decrease in E was observed (compared to controls) at each of the three tested loading conditions. A significant decrease in ν due to trypsin digestion was also detected. These data indicate that the method developed in this study may serve as a valuable tool for comparative studies evaluating factors involved in OA pathogenesis using experimentally induced mouse OA models.
An Alternative Method to Characterize the Quasi-Static, Nonlinear Material Properties of Murine Articular Cartilage
Manuscript received December 14, 2016; final manuscript received September 19, 2017; published online October 31, 2017. Assoc. Editor: James C. Iatridis.
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Kotelsky, A., Woo, C. W., Delgadillo, L. F., Richards, M. S., and Buckley, M. R. (October 31, 2017). "An Alternative Method to Characterize the Quasi-Static, Nonlinear Material Properties of Murine Articular Cartilage." ASME. J Biomech Eng. January 2018; 140(1): 011007. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4038147
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