Biomechanical and histological evaluation of hydrogel implants in articular cartilage

S.M. Malmonge, C.A.C. Zavaglia, W.D. Belangero
2000 Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research  
We evaluated the mechanical behavior of the repaired surfaces of defective articular cartilage in the intercondylar region of the rat femur after a hydrogel graft implant. The results were compared to those for the adjacent normal articular cartilage and for control surfaces where the defects remained empty. Hydrogel synthesized by blending poly(2hydroxyethyl methacrylate) and poly(methyl methacrylate-co-acrylic acid) was implanted in male Wistar rats. The animals were divided into five groups
more » ... d into five groups with postoperative follow-up periods of 3, 5, 8, 12 and 16 weeks. Indentation tests were performed on the neoformed surfaces in the knee joint (with or without a hydrogel implant) and on adjacent articular cartilage in order to assess the mechanical properties of the newly formed surface. Kruskal-Wallis analysis indicated that the mechanical behavior of the neoformed surfaces was significantly different from that of normal cartilage. Histological analysis of the repaired defects showed that the hydrogel implant filled the defect with no signs of inflammation as it was well anchored to the surrounding tissues, resulting in a newly formed articular surface. In the case of empty control defects, osseous tissue grew inside the defects and fibrous tissue formed on the articular surface of the defects. The repaired surface of the hydrogel implant was more compliant than normal articular cartilage throughout the 16 weeks following the operation, whereas the fibrous tissue that formed postoperatively over the empty defect was stiffer than normal articular cartilage after 5 weeks. This stiffness started to decrease 16 weeks after the operation, probably due to tissue degeneration. Thus, from the biomechanical and histological point of view, the hydrogel implant improved the articular surface repair. Correspondence
doi:10.1590/s0100-879x2000000300008 pmid:10719382 fatcat:4fupcawlgvefxfrtnevrtuokcm