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  • Author or Editor: Britta Sigrid Leise x
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To investigate the cytotoxic effects of 2 different concentrations of buprenorphine and compare them with bupivacaine and morphine on healthy equine chondrocytes in vitro.


Primary cultured equine articular chondrocytes from 3 healthy adult horses.


Chondrocytes were exposed for 0 and 2 hours to the following treatments: media (CON; negative control); bupivacaine at 2.2 mg/mL (BUPI; positive control); morphine at 2.85 mg/mL (MOR); buprenorphine at 0.12 mg/mL (HBUPRE); or buprenorphine at 0.05 mg/mL (LBUPRE). Chondrocyte viability was assessed using live/dead staining, water-soluble tetrazolium salt-8 (WST-8) cytotoxic assay, LDH assay, and flow cytometry. All continuous variables were evaluated with a mixed ANOVA with treatment, time, and their interactions as the fixed effects and each horse as the random effect.


Buprenorphine showed a concentration-dependent chondrotoxic effect. The viability of chondrocytes was significantly decreased with exposure to HBUPRE and BUPI compared to CON, MOR, and LBUPRE.


Negligible chondrotoxic effects were observed in healthy cultured equine chondrocytes exposed to 0.05 mg/mL of buprenorphine, whereas higher concentrations (0.12 mg/mL) showed a marked cytotoxic effect. Based on these results, low concentrations of buprenorphine appear to be safe for intra-articular administration. Further evaluation of this dose in vivo is needed before recommending its clinical use.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research