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Subchondral bone density and cartilage degeneration patterns in osteoarthritic metacarpal condyles of horses

Benjamin D. YoungComparative Orthopedic Research Laboratories, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Valerie F. SamiiComparative Orthopedic Research Laboratories, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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John S. MattoonComparative Orthopedic Research Laboratories, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Steven E. WeisbrodeComparative Orthopedic Research Laboratories, Veterinary BioSciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Alicia L. BertoneComparative Orthopedic Research Laboratories, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Abstract

Objective—To evaluate and correlate patterns of subchondral bone density and articular cartilage degeneration (derived by use of gross, histologic, and computed tomographic [CT] examinations) in equine third metacarpal condyles with and without osteoarthritis.

Sample Population—8 metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joints (n = 4 horses) without osteoarthritis and 6 osteoarthritis-affected MCP joints (4).

Procedures—Horses were euthanized. The third metacarpal condyles of the joints were examined grossly and via CT (3 slice images/condyle). For 6 condylar zones, mean bone density and pattern of density distribution were determined. Data for osteoarthritis-affected and control joints were compared. Histomorphometric point count analyses identified areas of bone density for comparison with CT density measurements.

Results—Osteoarthritis-affected condyles had heterogeneous subchondral bone with focal resorptive lesions and patterned sclerosis, whereas control condyles had symmetric bone density distribution. In osteoarthritis-affected condyles, bone density determined via gray scale image density analysis was greater (dorsal and medial pattern), compared with control condyles, and differed among zones because of resorption and sclerosis. With regard to bone density in osteoarthritis-affected condyles, histologic findings correlated with CT images, and bone lesions were significantly correlated with cartilage lesions.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In horses, heterogeneous distribution and greater subchondral bone density were characteristic of osteoarthritis-affected condyles, compared with control condyles. Subchondral bone lesions correlated with overlying cartilage lesions in osteoarthritis-affected MCP joints. Identification of CT image characteristics appears to predict the presence of a cartilage lesion in MCP joints of horses with osteoarthritis.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate and correlate patterns of subchondral bone density and articular cartilage degeneration (derived by use of gross, histologic, and computed tomographic [CT] examinations) in equine third metacarpal condyles with and without osteoarthritis.

Sample Population—8 metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joints (n = 4 horses) without osteoarthritis and 6 osteoarthritis-affected MCP joints (4).

Procedures—Horses were euthanized. The third metacarpal condyles of the joints were examined grossly and via CT (3 slice images/condyle). For 6 condylar zones, mean bone density and pattern of density distribution were determined. Data for osteoarthritis-affected and control joints were compared. Histomorphometric point count analyses identified areas of bone density for comparison with CT density measurements.

Results—Osteoarthritis-affected condyles had heterogeneous subchondral bone with focal resorptive lesions and patterned sclerosis, whereas control condyles had symmetric bone density distribution. In osteoarthritis-affected condyles, bone density determined via gray scale image density analysis was greater (dorsal and medial pattern), compared with control condyles, and differed among zones because of resorption and sclerosis. With regard to bone density in osteoarthritis-affected condyles, histologic findings correlated with CT images, and bone lesions were significantly correlated with cartilage lesions.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In horses, heterogeneous distribution and greater subchondral bone density were characteristic of osteoarthritis-affected condyles, compared with control condyles. Subchondral bone lesions correlated with overlying cartilage lesions in osteoarthritis-affected MCP joints. Identification of CT image characteristics appears to predict the presence of a cartilage lesion in MCP joints of horses with osteoarthritis.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Young's present address is Texas Veterinary Medical Center, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4475.

Supported by The Ohio State University Council for Research Equine Research Funds.

The authors thank Amy Lehman and Amanda Johnson for statistical and technical support, respectively.

Address correspondence to Dr. Bertone.