Study of Altered Mechanical Properties of Articular Cartilage in Relation to the Collagen Network

Jian Wu, Brett Kirk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Articular cartilage is a semitransparent elastic material that covers on the two articulatingbones in synovial joints. It acts as a cushion between the bones that transfers loads from one toanother while attenuating dynamic stresses and providing almost frictionless contact surfaces fornormal use of synovial joints without pains. Osteoarthritis causes a chronic joint pain and it ismainly due to malfunction of articular cartilage. The mechanical function of articular cartilage isderived from its unique microstructure. Therefore, study of the relationship between the mechanicalfunction and microstructure of articular cartilage comprehends the aetiology and pathology ofosteoarthritis. Confocal microscopy permits studying the internal microstructure of buck biologicaltissues without tissue sectioning and dehydration. This provides a way to study the relationshipbetween the mechanical function and microstructure of articular cartilage. Using a fibre optic laserscanning confocal microscope, this study examines the pathological status of articular cartilage inrelation to the mechanical function and 3D collagen network of articular cartilage. The results showthat the 3D collagen structure and the mechanical function are different between normal andarthritic cartilage. Loss of the integrity of the 3D collagen network is closely related to cartilagesoftening.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-14
JournalAdvanced Materials Research
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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