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Human osteoarthrosis : lectin and histochemical studies of knee articular cartilage


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Lyons, Timothy John 2000 , 'Human osteoarthrosis : lectin and histochemical studies of knee articular cartilage', ProfDoc thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Osteoarthrosis is a common condition affecting the articular cartilage of diarthrodial
joints. This study was undertaken in two parts to review the lectin and histochemical
staining characteristics of normal, aged and osteoarthrotic cartilage. Firstly, using a
panel of histochemical stains the normal microanatomy of cartilage was reviewed with
reference to the chondro-osseous junction. Secondly, using a panel of 19 lectins,
carbohydrate expression of a number of parameters of the chondro-osseous sections was
assessed. Three key findings were made in this study:
1. Ageing and early osteoarthrotic cartilage showed characteristic differences in their
macroscopic and microscopic features. In particular ageing cartilage showed less
loss of the normal viscoelastic response on indentation tests. At the microscopic
level there was marked disruption of the normal chondrocyte architecture and
chondro-osseous region and this was most pronounced in early osteoarthrosis.
2. The anatomy of the chondro-osseous region is more complex than previously
documented. Clearly demonstrated were pegs of uncalcified cartilage faithfully
followed by the tidemark dipping through calcified cartilage and abutting onto bone
marrow spaces.
3. The main findings in relation to lectins were that: matrix staining was varied in
normals in anatomical zones and regions and there were characteristic alterations in
ageing and osteoarthrosis; chondrocyte cytoplasm and membrane staining was not
always present suggesting that some cells may be metabolically active and others in
a non-responsive phase; zone V matrix and uncalcified cartilage pegs exhibited a
different staining pattern to the normal matrix indicating possible differences in
Three main conclusions were made from these findings. Firstly, that the
pathophysiological processes in ageing and early osteoarthrosis are fundamentally
different, one being a natural physiological phenomena and the other exhibiting the
hallmarks of a progressive disease process. Secondly, that the chondro-osseous junction
region and tidemark remain poorly understood anatomical regions. The presence of
interdigitating uncalcified cartilage pegs which connect with underlying bone marrow
spaces suggesting this region may have a significant role in nutrition and possibly in the
evolution of osteoarthrosis. Thirdly, the carbohydrates of cartilage glycoproteins play a significant role in the microenvironment of articular cartilage and subchondral bone and
our current knowledge of the carbohydrate chemistry of cartilage is insufficient.
That articular cartilage provides a unique role in maintaining mobility is demonstrated
by the incapacity and morbidity that results from osteoarthrosis. A greater
understanding of the chondro-osseous region and of cartilage carbohydrate chemistry
may enhance our understanding of osteoarthrosis and assist in developing treatment
strategies for this common articular disease.

Item Type: Thesis - ProfDoc
Authors/Creators:Lyons, Timothy John
Keywords: Osteoarthritis
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2000 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.D.]--University of Tasmania, 2000. Includes bibliographical references

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