Ultrastructural analysis of the adaptation of articular cartilage to mechanical stimulation.

F. Greco, N. Specchia, F. Falciglia, A. Toesca, S. Nori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ultrastructural analysis was conducted on samples of articular cartilage taken from both load-bearing and non-load-bearing areas with the aim of evaluating the morphologic adaptation of the articular cartilage to mechanical stimulation and identifying the mechanisms of interaction of the chondrocyte and the matrix. Through this analysis we were able to better define the adaptation process of the cartilage as well as the modalities of mechanical stress transmission. We believe that the complex formed by the chondrocyte, the pericellular matrix, and the pericellular capsule constitutes the biomechanical unit of the articular cartilage which serves as the sensor and transducer of mechanical stress. The arrangement of the collagen fibers and the proteoglycans which make up the pericellular capsule and membrane around the chondrocyte can be compared, from a mechanical standpoint, to a dynamic structure constructed in order to absorb the load stresses and protect the internal environment. From a biological standpoint, these are comparable to an extracellular-scaffold constructed with the aim of mediating the interaction between the chondrocyte and the territorial and inter-territorial compartments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-321
Number of pages11
JournalItalian Journal of Orthopaedics and Traumatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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