Regional dependency of bovine meniscus biomechanics on the internal structure and glycosaminoglycan content.

Affiliation

Stokes Laboratories, Bernal Institute, School of Engineering, University of Limerick, Ireland. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Menisci play a major role in the mechanical function of the knee. They are subjected to large compressive forces and as a result and due to its avascular structure, menisci are prone to irreparable damage. Meniscectomy was once a common procedure for damaged menisci, however alternative approaches involving meniscus regeneration to restore function are of current interest. In order to enable these regenerative strategies, it is of utmost importance to initially establish he structure/property/function relationships of native menisci. Therefore, this study explores the influence of major constituents of the meniscal extracellular matrix; namely the glycosaminoglycan (GAG), and the collagen fibre orientation on the mechanical properties of the bovine meniscus. GAG distribution and mechanical properties are mapped with respect to depth and regional variance within the meniscus. Results show that the inner zone of the meniscus has a significantly larger quantity of GAG compared to the peripheral zone. The tibial and femoral layers contain a higher quantity of GAG than the mid-section and collagen fibre alignment differed depending on region. Overall, it was established that the viscoelastic properties of the meniscus are determined by the co-dependent relationship between the solid and fluid fractions of the meniscus and this varied depending on region. The hydrophilic nature of the GAG molecules play an important role in maintaining the solid/fluid balance while collagen fibre orientation restricts fluid flow within tissue, combined these processes act to support the meniscus under compressive loads.

Keywords

Biomechanics,GAGs,Internal structure,Meniscus,

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