An Ultrasound biomicroscopic and water jet ultrasound indentation method for detecting the degenerative changes of articular cartilage in a rabbit model of progressive osteoarthritis

Yuexiang Wang, Yan Ping Huang, Aijun Liu, Wenbo Wan, Yongping Zheng

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9 Citations (Scopus)


It is important to assess the early degeneration of articular cartilage associated with osteoarthritis (OA) for early intervention and treatment planning. Previously, we have developed a high frequency ultrasound and water jet indentation method for the morphologic, acoustic and mechanical assessment of articular cartilage, using the enzymatic digestion as a model of osteoarthritic degeneration. No naturally degenerated articular cartilage has been tested with the developed method. In this study, we aimed to determine the usefulness of the developed method for detecting the natural degeneration of articular cartilage in a standard surgical model of OA in rabbits. Forty adult New Zealand white female rabbits were used in this study, which included 30 experimental rabbits undergoing the right anterior cruciate ligament transection surgery and 10 control rabbits. At the 3rd, 6th, and 9thweek post-surgery, 10 experimental rabbits were sacrificed, respectively, for assessment of the knee cartilage quality. The cartilage at the medial and lateral femoral condyles and tibial plateaus (four points) was measured by the high frequency ultrasound biomicroscopy, the water jet ultrasound indentation and a contact mechanical indentation test before a histopathologic analysis for grading of degeneration severity. Measured parameters were compared among different groups classified either by post-surgery time or by histopathologic grade. The results showed a general trend of increase for ultrasound roughness index and a general trend of decrease for integrated reflection coefficient, stiffness coefficient from water-jet indentation and Young's modulus (E) from the mechanical indentation with the increase of post-surgery time. Comparisons among groups with different histopathologic grades showed similar trend with the increase of degeneration severity. The water jet ultrasound indentation method was demonstrated to be an effective method to measure the mechanical properties of the articular cartilage and with further development of arthroscopic ultrasound probe; it has the ability to assess the early degeneration of articular cartilage with measurement of morphologic, acoustic and mechanical properties of the cartilage invivo.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1296-1306
Number of pages11
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Articular cartilage
  • Degeneration
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Stiffness
  • Ultrasound
  • Water jet indentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

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