Research Papers

A Surface Roughness Comparison of Cartilage in Different Types of Synovial Joints

[+] Author and Article Information
Patrick A. Smyth1

Department of Mechanical Engineering,  Auburn University, Auburn, AL, 36849pasmyth4@gatech.edu

Rebecca E. Rifkin, R. Reid Hanson

College of Veterinary Medicine,  Auburn University, Auburn, AL, 36849

Robert L. Jackson

Department of Mechanical Engineering,  Auburn University, Auburn, AL, 36849


Present address: Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, 30332.

J Biomech Eng 134(2), 021006 (Mar 19, 2012) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4005934 History: Received July 23, 2011; Revised January 23, 2012; Posted February 13, 2012; Published March 14, 2012; Online March 19, 2012

The naturally occurring structure of articular cartilage has proven to be an effective means for the facilitation of motion and load support in equine and other animal joints. For this reason, cartilage has been extensively studied for many years. Although the roughness of cartilage has been determined from atomic force microscopy (AFM) and other methods in multiple studies, a comparison of roughness to joint function has not be completed. It is hypothesized that various joint types with different motions and regimes of lubrication have altered demands on the articular surface that may affect cartilage surface properties. Micro- and nanoscale stylus profilometry was performed on the carpal cartilage harvested from 16 equine forelimbs. Eighty cartilage surface samples taken from three different functioning joint types (radiocarpal, midcarpal, and carpometacarpal) were measured by a Veeco Dektak 150 Stylus Surface Profilometer. The average surface roughness measurements were statistically different for each joint. This indicates that the structure of cartilage is adapted to, or worn by, its operating environment. Knowledge of cartilage micro- and nanoscale roughness will assist the future development and design of treatments for intra- articular substances or surfaces to preserve joint integrity and reduce limitations or loss of joint performance.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Schematic of the right equine carpus [9]

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Figure 2

Sample surface profile of unleveled surface of the radiocarpal joint

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Figure 3

Sample surface leveled with linear fit

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Figure 4

Sample surface leveled with second-order polynomial

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Figure 5

Sample surface leveled with multiple second-order polynomial fits

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Figure 6

Hierarchy of joints, surfaces, and number of scans (in parenthesis) taken from the equine forelimb

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Figure 7

Frequency distribution of the average roughness in the midcarpal joint observations

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Figure 8

Midcarpal roughness data transformed by logarithm to exhibit more normal (Gaussian) behavior

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Figure 9

The average roughness of the radiocarpal, midcarpal, and carpometacarpal joints presented with 95% confidence error bars



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