Solute transport in cartilage undergoing cyclic deformation

Bruce Gardiner, David Smith, Peter Pivonka, A. Grodzinsky, E. Frank, L. Zhang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    38 Citations (Scopus)


    There are no blood vessels in cartilage to transport nutrients and growth factors to chondrocytes dispersed throughout the cartilage matrix. Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) is a large molecule with an important role in cartilage growth and metabolism, however, it first must reach the chondrocytes to exert its effect. While diffusion of IGF-I through cartilage is possible, it has been speculated that cyclic loading can enhance the rate of solute transport within cartilage. To better understand this process, here a one-dimensional axisymmetric mathematical model is developed to examine the transport of solutes through a cylindrical plug of cartilage undergoing cyclic axial deformation in the range of 10− 3–1 Hz. This study has revealed the role of timescales in interpreting transport results in cartilage. It is shown that dynamic strains can either enhance or inhibit IGF-I transport at small timescales ( <20 min after onset of loading), depending on loading frequency. However, on longer timescales it is found that dynamic loading has negligible effect on IGF-I transport. Most importantly, in all cases examined the steady state IGF-I concentration did not exceed the fixed boundary value, in contrast to the predictions of Mauk et al.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)265-278
    JournalComputer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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