eCM (Eur Cell Mater / e Cells & Materials) Not-for-profit Open Access
Created by Scientists, for Scientists
 ISSN:1473-2262         NLM:100973416 (link)         DOI:10.22203/eCM

2011   Volume No 21 – pages 470-478

Title: Cartilage damage involving extrusion of mineralisable matrix from the articular calcified cartilage and subchondral bone

Author: A Boyde, CM Riggs, AJ Bushby, B McDermott, GL Pinchbeck, PD Clegg

Address: Biophysics, Oral Growth and Development, Queen Mary University of London, New Road, London E1 2AD, UK

E-mail: a.boyde at

Key Words: Cartilage, bone, osteoarthritis, tidemark, microscopy, nanoindentation.

Publication date: May 28th 2011

Abstract: Arthropathy of the distal articular surfaces of the third metacarpal (Mc3) and metatarsal (Mt3) bones in the Thoroughbred racehorse (Tb) is a natural model of repetitive overload arthrosis. We describe a novel pathology that affects the articular calcified cartilage (ACC) and subchondral bone (SCB) and which is associated with hyaline articular cartilage degeneration.
Parasagittal slices cut from the palmar quadrant of the distal condyles of the left Mc3/Mt3 of 39 trained Tbs euthanased for welfare reasons were imaged by point projection microradiography, and backscattered electron (BSE) scanning electron microscopy (SEM), light microscopy, and confocal scanning light microscopy.  Mechanical properties were studied by nanoindentation. Data on the horses' training and racing career were also collected.
Highly mineralised projections were observed extending from cracks in the ACC mineralising front into the hyaline articular cartilage (HAC) up to two-thirds the thickness of the HAC, and were associated with focal HAC surface fibrillation directly overlying their site. Nanoindentation identified this extruded matrix to be stiffer than any other mineralised phase in the specimen by a factor of two. The presence of projections was associated with a higher cartilage Mankin histology score (P < 0.02) and increased amounts of gross cartilage loss pathologically on the condyle (P < 0.02). Presence of projections was not significantly associated with: total number of racing seasons, age of horse, amount of earnings, number of days in training, total distance galloped in career, or presence of wear lines.

Article download: Pages 470-478 (PDF file)
DOI: 10.22203/eCM.v021a35