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- Author or Editor: Pieter A. J. Brama x
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Objective—To evaluate a modified digital imaging technique for quantitative assessment of the grade of osteoarthritis across the proximal articular surface of the first phalanx in horses.
Sample Population—6 metacarpophalangeal (fetlock) joint specimens from 6 horses with various stages of osteoarthritis.
Procedure—First phalanx specimens, together with 4 gray scale reference calibration targets, were positioned in a bath with the proximal articular cartilage surface submerged in saline (0.9% NaCl) solution. Digital images were obtained from the articular surface before and after staining with Indian ink. Computer-controlled gray level analysis of the nonstained and Indian ink-stained cartilage surfaces and gray scale reference calibration targets was performed by use of the mean pixel value (based on 255-gray scale). An increase in the mean pixel value after staining was used to calculate the cartilage degeneration index (CDI).
Results—The CDI of the proximal articular cartilage surface of the first phalanx specimens ranged from 9.2 ± 5.7 (early stage osteoarthritis) to 41.5 ± 3.6% (late stage osteoarthritis). The effect of repeating the measurement 6 times in nonstained (including repositioning) and stained specimens (including repositioning and restaining) was not significant. Up to 10 measurements of nonstained specimens could be made without refreshing the bath solution. In stained specimens, mean gray level increased significantly after the sixth measurement.
Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—The modified digital imaging technique allowed quantitative assessment of cartilage degeneration across the articular cartilage surface. The CDI is the first quantitative measure for osteoarthritis-induced cartilage degeneration over an entire joint surface in horses. (Am J Vet Res 2003;64:83–87)
Objective—To quantify and compare biochemical characteristics of the extracellular matrix (ECM) of specimens harvested from tensional and compressive regions of the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) of horses in age classes that include neonates to mature horses.
Sample Population—Tendon specimens were collected on postmortem examination from 40 juvenile horses (0, 5, 12, and 36 months old) without macroscopically visible signs of tendonitis.
Procedure—Central core specimens of the SDFT were obtained with a 4-mm-diameter biopsy punch from 2 loaded sites, the central part of the midmetacarpal region and the central part of the midsesamoid region. Biochemical characteristics of the collagenous ECM content (ie, collagen, hydroxylysylpyridinoline crosslink, and pentosidine crosslink concentrations and percentage of degraded collagen) and noncollagenous ECM content (percentage of water and glycosaminoglycans, DNA, and hyaluronic acid concentrations) were measured.
Results—The biochemical composition of equine SDFT was not homogeneous at birth with respect to DNA, glycosaminoglycans, and pentosidine concentrations. For most biochemical variables, the amounts present at birth were dissimilar to those found in mature horses. Fast and substantial changes in all components of the matrix occurred in the period of growth and development after birth.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Unlike cartilage, tendon tissue is not biochemically blank (ie, homogeneous) at birth. However, a process of functional adaptation occurs during maturation that changes the composition of equine SDFT from birth to maturity. Understanding of the maturation process of the juvenile equine SDFT may be useful in developing exercise programs that minimize tendon injuries later in life that result from overuse. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:1623–1629)
Objective—To assess the effects of age and joint disease on hydroxyproline and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) concentrations in synovial fluid from the metacarpophalangeal joint of horses and evaluate the association of those concentrations with severity of osteoarthritis and general matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity.
Sample Population—Synovial fluid was collected from the metacarpophalangeal joints of foals at birth (n = 10), 5-month-old foals (10), 11-month-old foals (5), and adult horses (73).
Procedure—Hydroxyproline and GAG concentrations were determined in synovial fluid samples. The severity of osteoarthritis in adult joints was quantified by use of a cartilage degeneration index (CDI) and assessment of general MMP-activity via a fluorogenic assay.
Results—Hydroxyproline and GAG concentrations in synovial fluid were highest in neonates and decreased with age. Concentrations reached a plateau in adults by 4 years and remained constant in healthy joints. In synovial fluid from osteoarthritic joints, hydroxyproline and GAG concentrations were not increased, compared with unaffected joints, but hydroxyproline were significantly correlated with the CDI and general MMP activity. There was no significant correlation between GAG concentration and CDI value or MMP activity.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Changes in hydroxyproline concentration in synovial fluid appeared to indicate damage to collagen of the articular cartilage. In joints with osteoarthritis, the lack of high GAG concentration in synovial fluid and the absence of a significant correlation between GAG concentration and CDI values or MMP activity may severely limit the usefulness of this marker for monitoring equine joint disease (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;65:296–302)
Objective—To determine whether serum concentrations of biomarkers of skeletal metabolism can, in conjunction with radiographic evaluation, indicate severity of osteochondrosis in developing horses.
Animals—43 Dutch Warmblood foals with varying severity of osteochondrosis.
Procedure—24 foals were monitored for 5 months and 19 foals were monitored for 11 months. Monthly radiographs of femoropatellar-femorotibial and tibiotarsal joints were graded for osteochondral abnormalities. Serial blood samples were assayed for 8 cartilage and bone biomarkers. At the end of the monitoring period, foals were examined for macroscopic osteochondrosis lesions.
Results—Temporal relationships were evident between certain serum biomarkers and osteochondrosis severity in foals during their first year. Biomarkers of collagen degradation (collagenasegenerated neoepitopes of type-II collagen fragments, type-I and -II collagen fragments [COL2-3/4Cshort], and cross-linked telopeptide fragments of type-I collagen) and bone mineralization (osteocalcin) were positive indicators of osteochondrosis severity at 5 months of age. In foals with lesions at 11 months of age, osteochondrosis severity correlated negatively with COL2-3/4Cshort and osteocalcin and positively with C-propeptide of type-II procollagen (CPII), a collagen synthesis marker. Radiographic grading of osteochondrosis lesions significantly correlated with macroscopic osteochondrosis severity score at both ages and was strongest when combined with osteocalcin at 5 months and CPII at 11 months.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The ability of serum biomarkers to indicate osteochondrosis severity appears to depend on stage of disease and is strengthened with radiography. In older foals with more permanent lesions, osteochondrosis severity is significantly related to biomarker concentrations of decreased bone formation and increased cartilage synthesis. (Am J Vet Res 2004;65:143–150)
Objective—To determine the speed of sound (SOS) in equine articular cartilage and investigate the influence of age, site in the joint, and cartilage degeneration on the SOS.
Sample Population—Cartilage samples from 38 metacarpophalangeal joints of 38 horses (age range, 5 months to 22 years).
Procedure—Osteochondral plugs were collected from 2 articular sites of the proximal phalanx after the degenerative state was characterized by use of the cartilage degeneration index (CDI) technique. The SOS was calculated (ratio of needle-probe cartilage thickness to time of flight of the ultrasound pulse), and relationships between SOS value and age, site, and cartilage degeneration were evaluated. An analytical model of cartilage indentation was used to evaluate the effect of variation in true SOS on the determination of cartilage thickness and dynamic modulus with the ultrasound indentation technique.
Results—The mean SOS for all samples was 1,696 ± 126 m/s. Age, site, and cartilage degeneration had no significant influence on the SOS in cartilage. The analytical model revealed that use of the mean SOS of 1,696 m/s was associated with maximum errors of 17.5% on cartilage thickness and 7.0% on dynamic modulus in an SOS range that covered 95% of the individual measurements.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In equine articular cartilage, use of mean SOS of 1,696 m/s in ultrasound indentation measurements introduces some inaccuracy on cartilage thickness determinations, but the dynamic modulus of cartilage can be estimated with acceptable accuracy in horses regardless of age, site in the joint, or stage of cartilage degeneration. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:1175–1180)
Objective—To assess whether site-related changes in biochemical composition are present in the cartilage and subchondral and trabecular bone of the metacarpophalangeal joint of horses with early osteoarthritis.
Sample Population—Right metacarpophalangeal joints from 59 mature warmblood horses.
Procedure—Biochemical data (cross-link, amino acid, DNA, and ash contents; denatured collagen and glycosaminoglycan [GAG] concentrations; bone mineral density; and mineral composition) were obtained from 2 differently loaded sites of phalanx I cartilage and subchondral and trabecular bone samples; data were compared with previously published values from nonosteoarthritic equine joints.
Results—Compared with findings in nonosteoarthritic joints, GAG concentration was lower in cartilage from osteoarthritic joints and there was a loss of site differences in cellularity and lysylpyridinoline (LP) cross-link content. In subchondral bone, LP cross-link content was decreased overall and there was a loss of site differences in osteoarthritic joints; ash content was higher in the osteoarthritic joints. Hydroxyproline content in trabecular bone from osteoarthritic joints was greater than that in nonosteoarthritic trabecular bone. In all 3 layers and at both sites, the linear increase of the pentosidine cross-link content with age had diminished or was not apparent in the horses with osteoarthritic joints.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In equine metacarpophalangeal joints with early osteoarthritis, distinct biochemical changes were detected in the cartilage and subchondral and trabecular bone. The dissimilarity in response of the different tissues and differences between the sites that are affected may be related to differences in biomechanical loading and transmission and dissipation of force. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:1238–1246)