Anatomic variation of depth-dependent mechanical properties in neonatal bovine articular cartilage



Articular cartilage has well known depth-dependent structure and has recently been shown to have similarly non-uniform depth-dependent mechanical properties. Here, we study anatomic variation of the depth-dependent shear modulus and energy dissipation rate in neonatal bovine knees. The regions we specifically focus on are the patellofemoral groove, trochlea, femoral condyle, and tibial plateau. In every sample, we find a highly compliant region within the first 500 µm of tissue measured from the articular surface, where the local shear modulus is reduced by up to two orders of magnitude. Comparing measurements taken from different anatomic sites, we find statistically significant differences localized within the first 50 µm. Histological images reveal these anatomic variations are associated with differences in collagen density and fiber organization. © 2012 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 31: 686–691, 2013