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  • Author or Editor: Alicia L Bertone x
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To compare the biochemical, histochemical, and immunohistochemical profiles of articular cartilage from horses with naturally acquired distal tibial osteochondrosis (OC) with cartilage from a similar location in clinically normal horses.


9 affected horses (group 1, 16 OC lesions) and 4 control horses (group 2, 8 normal osteochondral specimens).


OC specimens were collected during arthroscopic removal of the fragment, and control specimens were collected by aseptic osteotomy. Uronic acid, total protein, total glycosaminoglycan (GAG), chondroitin sulfate (CS), and keratan sulfate (KS) contents were determined. Histomorphologic, histochemical, and immunohistochemical examinations were performed on specimens after snap freezing at −80 C and cryosectioning. Monoclonal antibodies (MAB) 3B3 and 5D4 were applied for location of epitopes of CS and KS, respectively.


OC lesions had significantly lower quantity of uronic acid, total GAG, and CS, compared with normal cartilage. OC cartilage had significantly less intense staining with toluidine blue, along with irregular cellularity and tidemark characteristics, compared with normal cartilage. Monoclonal antibodies 3B3 and 5D4 stained OC cartilage, whereas MAB 5D4 did not stain control cartilage. Additionally, MAB 3B3 and 5D4 stained the fibrous tissue that was found firmly attached to the OC lesion located between the parent distal portion of the tibia and OC fragment.


OC cartilage lesions of the distal intermediate ridge of the tibia in horses are biochemically, histochemically, and immunohistochemically distinct from normal cartilage from the same location. Results may reflect the inability of the chondrocyte of the developing joint to alter matrix components that would allow proper maturation and differentiation into bone. (Am J Vet Res 1997;58:89–98)

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


The effects of intra-articular administration of methylprednisolone acetate (mpa) on the healing of full-thickness osteochondral defects and on normal cartilage were evaluated in 8 horses. In group-1 horses (n = 4), a 1-cm-diameter, full-thickness defect was created bilaterally in the articular cartilage on the dorsal distal surface of the radial carpal bone. Cartilage defects were not created in group-2 horses (n = 4). One middle carpal joint was randomly selected in each horse (groups 1 and 2), and treated with an intra-articular injection of 100 mg of mpa, once a week for 4 treatments. Injections began 1 week after surgery in group-1 horses. The contralateral middle carpal joint received intra-articular injections of an equivalent volume of 0.9% sodium chloride solution (scs), and served as a control. Horses were evaluated for 16 weeks, then were euthanatized, and the middle carpal joints were examined and photographed. Synovial and articular cartilage specimens were obtained for histologic and histochemical evaluation.

Gross morphometric evaluation of the healing defects in group-1 horses revealed that 48.6% of the defect in control joints and 0% of the defect in mpa-treated joints was resurfaced with a smooth, white tissue, histologically confirmed as fibrocartilage. This replacement tissue was a firmly attached fibrocartilage in control joints and a thin fibrous tissue in mpa-treated joints. The articular cartilage in joints treated with mpa had morphologic changes, including chondrocyte cluster formation, loss of palisading architecture, and cellular necrosis in both groups of horses. Histochemical (safranin-0) staining intensity was reduced significantly (P < 0.05) in all layers of articular cartilage in mpa-treated joints in groups 1 and 2. In the replacement tissue, intense safranin-0 staining was found only in the chondrocyte clusters deep in the tissue of control joints, confirming fibrocartilage repair. Intra-articular administration of mpa in this dosing regimen thus induced degenerative changes in normal articular cartilage and resulted in histomorphologic changes in the repair of full-thickness articular osteochondral defects in horses.

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


To evaluate the clinical, laboratory, and histologic effects of 2 methods of treatment for infectious arthritis in horses, Staphylococcus aureus (3.4 to 3.9 × 103 colony-forming units) was inoculated into the tarsocrural joints of 8 horses on day 0. Each horse was treated with phenylbutazone (2 g, po, q 24 h) and gentamicin sulfate (2.2 mg/kg of body weight, iv, q 8 h) for 14 days. On day 2, general anesthesia was induced, and each horse had 1 tarsocrural joint treated by arthrotomy, with removal of accessible fibrin and lavage with 3 L of sterile balanced electrolyte solution. An indwelling plastic drain was placed in the standing horse to provide a means for lavage with 3 L of balanced electrolyte solution twice daily for 72 hours. The contralateral tarsocrural joint was treated via arthroscopic debridement, synovectomy, and lavage with 3 L of balanced electrolyte solution. Arthrotomy and arthroscopic portals were allowed to heal by second intention. Lameness and thermographic examinations, analysis and bacteriologic culture of synovia, cbc, and wbc differential count were performed prior to inoculation and on days 1, 3, 6, 8, and 13. On day 14, each horse was euthanatized, and the joints were measured, opened, and photographed. Synovium and articular cartilage were obtained for semiquantitative histologic (H&E stain) and histochemical (safranin O fast green stain) evaluation. Lameness and joint circumference were significantly (P < 0.05) greater in limbs treated by arthroscopy, synovectomy, and lavage. Arthrotomy with lavage eliminated the S aureus infection significantly (P < 0.05) earlier than arthroscopy, synovectomy, and lavage; however, both treatments eliminated the infection in all but a single joint. Contamination with other organisms (Streptococcus spp and Enterobacter spp) developed significantly (P < 0.05) more often in joints treated by arthrotomy. These results suggested that arthrotomy with lavage was more effective in eliminating joint infection by providing better drainage than arthroscopy, synovectomy, and lavage; however, arthrotomy had a higher risk of ascending bacterial contamination of the joint.

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research