Superficial and deep defects in dyschondroplastic and degenerated pig articular cartilage

L. Della Salda, P. Borghetti, M. C. Maltarello, E. Cabassi, N. M. Maraldi, P. S. Marcato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Normal and pathological (osteochondrotic and osteoarthrotic) pig articular cartilages from medial humeral and femoral condyles were studied by scanning electron microscopy. The pathological cartilages showed primitive osteochondrotic lesions with progressive aspects according to the severity of the pathology (flaking, fibrillation and cracks) and other superficial changes (micro-undulation, micro-fissurations, clefts) that appeared to be a consequence of the action of intense mechanical stresses such as shearing forces, compressive deformation, friction of the articular surfaces. The observation of deep lesions such as cracks and fractures at or near the interface between cartilage and calcified zone, frequently observed both at medial condyle and at intercondylar crista of the humerus, often evolving in cartilagineous flaps, were related to excessive tangential and shear forces induced by an abnormal articular topography resulting in joint instability. This pathological joint dynamic could be also worsened by an anomalous leg conformation (cross-legs) and/or by an increased occurrence of environmental micro- and macrotrauma (impact loading). Also in this case, the frequency and severity of the lesions can be increased if the deep layer is affected by osteochondrotic lesions. The results stress the pathogenetic importance of mechanical load in initiating and worsening the articular lesions in pigs; they also suggest that the resulting alterations can be influenced by a pre-existing different maturity or pathological condition of the cartilage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Submicroscopic Cytology and Pathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1997


  • Articular cartilage
  • Chondrocyte
  • Mechanical stress
  • Osteochondrosis
  • SEM
  • Swine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Histology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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