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  • Author or Editor: Beverly J. McEwen x
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Objective—To study osteoarthritis in the equine medial femorotibial (MFT) joint after a single traumatic injury.

Animals—10 mature horses.

Procedure—In vitro explant cultures were used to determine injury threshold for stifle joint cartilage. Contusive impacts were applied to the medial femoral condyle (MFC), and horses were followed for 84 (n = 5) and 180 days (5). Synovial fluid samples were collected every 14 days for determination of sulphated glycosaminoglycan (sGAG) concentrations. Radiographic and lameness evaluations were performed. Gross and histologic descriptions, and immunohistochemistry, cartilage sGAG content determination, and cartilage aggregate modulus determination were performed at the MFC impact site (MFCi), MFC nonimpact site (MFCn), and medial tibial plateau (MTP).

Results—Synovial fluid sGAG concentration decreased significantly on days 14, 28, 42, and 56 in all horses. Macroscopic and microscopic articular lesions developed within all MFT joints. No radiographic abnormalities were observed. Mild lameness was evident in several horses. No significant differences were found between short-term and longterm cohorts of horses with respect to histologic scores and TUNEL results. On immunohistochemistry, MFCi was positive for COL2–¾Cshort. International Cartilage Repair Society scores differed significantly between short-term and long-term cohorts of horses. In all horses, sGAG concentrations were significantly decreased at the MFCi, compared with the MFCn.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Use of contusive impacts on the MFC of horses results in cartilage lesions that are similar to those described clinically, supporting trauma as a contributing factor in the natural pathogenesis of osteoarthritis.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To determine whether a single contusive impact injury to the palmar aspect of the metacarpus would progress to post-traumatic osteoarthritis or palmar osteochondral disease in horses.

Animals—12 horses.

Procedures—In each horse, an impact injury was created on the palmar aspect of the medial metacarpal condyle of 1 randomly chosen limb with an impactor device under arthroscopic and fluoroscopic guidance. The opposite limb was sham operated as a control. A low to moderate amount of forced exercise was instituted, and horses were evaluated clinically via lameness examinations weekly for 5 months, then biweekly until endpoint, with synovial fluid analysis performed at 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, and 10 months and radiography at baseline and endpoint. Macroscopic examination, micro-CT, and sample collection for cartilage viability and sulfated glycosaminoglycan content, histologic evaluation, immunohistochemical analysis, and fluorochrome analysis were performed following euthanasia at 1 (3 horses), 4 (4), and 8 to 10 (5) months after surgery.

Results—There was variability in impact lesion location, depth, and area on macroscopic inspection, but on histologic evaluation, cartilage defects were less variable. Mean sulfated glycosaminoglycan concentration from cartilage at the impact site was significantly lower than that at a similar site in control limbs. Higher concentrations of cartilage oligomeric matrix protein were observed in synovial fluid from impact-injured joints.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The impact injury method caused mild focal osteoarthritic lesions in the metacarpophalangeal joint, but did not progress to palmar osteochondral disease at this site. Repeated injury is probably required for the development of palmar osteochondral disease.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research