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Biomechanical responses of normal and delipidized articular cartilage subjected to varying rates of loading.

Connective Tissue Research,


Biomechanical responses of normal and delipidized articular cartilage subjected to varying rates of loading.
k.oloyede@qut.edu.au In alignment with the proposition that a lipid layer overlays the superficial zone of the articular cartilage, this study presents the consequence of the removal of lipids on the load-bearing characteristics of the tissue.
Both normal unmodified and delipidized cartilage matrices were loaded at four different strain-rates of 1.3 x 10(-4)/s, 1.3 x 10(-3)/s, 1.3 x 10(-2)/s, and 1.3 x 10(-1)/s to strains of no more than 40%, to compare their stress-strain and stiffness-strain-rate characteristics.
Our results demonstrate that at the lowest strain-rate of 1.3 x 10(-4)/s, the stiffness of the delipidized matrix was lower in comparison to that of the normal unmodified tissue.
We conclude, therefore, that in general, at physiological rates of loading, the depletion of lipids from the articular cartilage reduces its compliance by at least 25%.
We infer from the present study that this degenerative stiffening is an important contributing factor in impairing the tissue's load processing function in osteoarthritic joints.