Quality of cartilage repair tissue can also be determined without a surgery

April 4, 2012
Quality of cartilage repair tissue can also be determined without a surgery

A team at the MedUni Vienna, headed by Sebastian Apprich of the University Department of Radiodiagnostics at the High-Field Magnetic Resonance Centre of Excellence, has now discovered in collaboration with the University Department of Orthopaedics that the quality of cartilage tissue can also be determined without an invasive procedure: with the assistance of diffusion weighted imaging in a 3-Tesla scanner cartilage quality can be assessed in a much less invasive way.

The surgical treatment of cartilage defects is a comparatively young research field. Different surgical methods have developed in the last few years, nevertheless in specialist orthopaedic circles there is no unanimously held opinion on the best form of treatment. Also playing a part in the long-term post-operative result, and thus the wellbeing of the patient, is the quality of the newly created tissue. These days a biopsy, and hence another , is necessary in order to be able to assess this definitively.

At the High-Field Magnetic Resonance Centre of Excellence, under the leadership of Siegfried Trattnig, scientists have been working on the development of non-invasive examination methods for years, in order to image quantitatively the individual components, and thus the quality of the joint cartilage. Says Apprich: "We concerned ourselves with questions such as "What is the like?" "What does the collagen fibre structure look like?" "How high is the proteoglycan content?" These are all components of joint cartilage contributing decisively to its unique function.

In their current work, the scientists have examined the two most common surgical methods at the present time for cartilage defects in the . The more time-consuming and costly method consists in the removal of , then cultivating and reproducing them in the laboratory followed by a re-implantation in the defect. The other method, the so-called bone marrow stimulating method, consists of drilling a hole in the underlying bone, similar to a sieve. The blood seeping out of these holes forms a blood sponge in the defect and, over the course of time, cartilage repair tissue is reconstructed.

With the help of diffusion weighted imaging the scientists were able to prove statistically significant differences in the ultrastructure of the cartilage repair tissue after these two different operation methods, whilst the usual morphological and clinical examinations showed no difference.

Says Apprich: "With the diffusion weighted imaging we were able to show that, after the more time-consuming cartilage cell transplantation, the cartilage repair tissue was more like the normal, healthy hyaline than that after the bone marrow stimulating method."

According to the scientist, another application possibility for this special imaging technique lies of course in the preventive evaluation of joint damage, which, in future, could play a decisive role in the treatment of osteoarthritis given the very limited regenerative capacity of cartilage.

Explore further: Progress in tissue engineering to repair joint damage in osteoarthritis

More information: Journal of Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, “Assessment of articular cartilage repair tissue after matrix-associated autologous chondrocyte transplantation or the microfracture technique in the ankle joint using diffusion weighted imaging at 3Tesla.” S. Apprich, et al. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22445916

Related Stories

Progress in tissue engineering to repair joint damage in osteoarthritis

June 8, 2011
Medical scientists now have "clear" evidence that the damaged cartilage tissue in osteoarthritis and other painful joint disorders can be encouraged to regrow and regenerate, and are developing tissue engineering technology ...

Glucocorticoid treatment may prevent long-term damage to joints

September 2, 2011
Joint injury can result in irreversible damage of cartilage which, despite treatment and surgery, often eventually leads to osteoarthritis (OA) in later life. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal ...

Recommended for you

Fluid in the knee holds clues for why osteoarthritis is more common in females

June 26, 2017
Researchers have more evidence that males and females are different, this time in the fluid that helps protect the cartilage in their knee joints.

Biologics before triple therapy not cost effective for rheumatoid arthritis

May 29, 2017
Stepping up to biologic therapy when methotrexate monotherapy fails offers minimal incremental benefit over using a combination of drugs known as triple therapy, yet incurs large costs for treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA). ...

Drug for refractory psoriatic arthritis shows promise in clinical trial

May 24, 2017
In a pivotal phase-3 clinical trial led by a Stanford University School of Medicine investigator, patients with psoriatic arthritis for whom standard-of-care pharmaceutical treatments have provided no lasting relief experienced ...

Cross-species links identified for osteoarthritis

May 17, 2017
New research from the University of Liverpool, published today in the journal npj Systems Biology and Applications, has identified 'cell messages' that could help identify the early stages of osteoarthritis (OA).

Osteoarthritis could be prevented with good diet and exercise

May 12, 2017
Osteoarthritis can potentially be prevented with a good diet and regular exercise, a new expert review published in the Nature Reviews Rheumatology reports.

Rodents with trouble walking reveal potential treatment approach for most common joint disease

May 11, 2017
Maintaining the supply of a molecule that helps to nourish cartilage prevented osteoarthritis in animal models of the disease, according to a report published in Nature Communications online May 11.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.