Comparative digital cartilage histology for human and common osteoarthritis models
Douglas R Pedersen, Jessica E Goetz, Gail L Kurriger, James A Martin
Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
Purpose: This study addresses the species-specific and site-specific details of weight-bearing articular cartilage zone depths and chondrocyte distributions among humans and common osteoarthritis (OA) animal models using contemporary digital imaging tools. Histological analysis is the gold-standard research tool for evaluating cartilage health, OA severity, and treatment efficacy. Historically, evaluations were made by expert analysts. However, state-of-the-art tools have been developed that allow for digitization of entire histological sections for computer-aided analysis. Large volumes of common digital cartilage metrics directly complement elucidation of trends in OA inducement and concomitant potential treatments.
Materials and methods: Sixteen fresh human knees, 26 adult New Zealand rabbit stifles, and 104 bovine lateral plateaus were measured for four cartilage zones and the cell densities within each zone. Each knee was divided into four weight-bearing sites: the medial and lateral plateaus and femoral condyles.
Results: One-way analysis of variance followed by pairwise multiple comparisons (Holm–Sidak method at a significance of 0.05) clearly confirmed the variability between cartilage depths at each site, between sites in the same species, and between weight-bearing articular cartilage definitions in different species.
Conclusion: The present study clearly demonstrates multisite, multispecies differences in normal weight-bearing articular cartilage, which can be objectively quantified by a common digital histology imaging technique. The clear site-specific differences in normal cartilage must be taken into consideration when characterizing the pathoetiology of OA models. Together, these provide a path to consistently analyze the volume and variety of histologic slides necessarily generated by studies of OA progression and potential treatments in different species.
Keywords: knee, osteoarthritis, imaging, rabbit, bovine, cell density
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