Nonuniform swelling-induced residual strains in articular cartilage.
Swelling effects in cartilage originate from an interstitial osmotic pressure generated by the presence of negatively charged proteoglycans in the tissue. This swelling pressure gives rise to a non-zero residual strain in the cartilage solid matrix in the absence of externally applied loads. Previous studies have quantified swelling effects in cartilage as volumetric or dimensional change of excised samples in varying osmotically active solutions. This study presents a new optical technique for measuring two-dimensional swelling-induced residual strain fields in planar samples of articular cartilage attached to the bone (i.e., in situ). Osmotic loading was applied to canine cartilage bone samples by equilibration in external baths of varying NaCl concentration. Non-zero swelling-induced strains were measured in physiological saline, giving evidence of the existence of residual strains in articular cartilage. Only one component of planar strain (i.e., in thickness direction) was found to be non-zero. This strain was found to be highly non-uniform in the thickness direction, with evidence of compressive strain in the deep zone of cartilage and tensile strain in the middle and surface zones. The obtained results can be used to characterize the material properties of the articular cartilage solid matrix, with estimated values of 26 M Pa for the tensile modulus for middle zone cartilage. The method provides the basis to obtain material properties of the cartilage solid matrix from a simple, free-swelling test and may be useful for quantifying changes in cartilage properties with injury, degeneration and repair.
Narmoneva, DA; Wang, JY; Setton, LA
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