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Synovial Membrane Microarthroscopy of the Equine Midcarpal Joint

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Objective

To evaluate the value of microarthroscopy in the equine midcarpal joint using the vital stains methylene blue, trypan blue, neutral red, and Janus green B to observe components of the synovial lamina propria, vascular architecture, and synoviocytes. Study design

Experimental. Animals

Ten horses. Methods

Microarthroscopy of left and right midcarpal joints was performed with and without vital staining of the synovium. Four vital stains (methylene blue, trypan blue, neutral red, and Janus green B) were evaluated, with each stain used in 5 joints. Synovial biopsy specimens were collected from the dorsomedial and dorsolateral aspects of the joint. Results

All dyes were biocompatible. At × 60 without vital staining, synovial surface topography, vascular network, and translucency were observed. Intra-articular vital dyes improved evaluation of synovial surface topography. At × 150 with vital staining, individual synoviocytes were clearly identified with all dyes, except neutral red. Although methylene blue provided the best in vivo microscopic differentiation of the structure of the intima, trypan blue had superior retention in conventionally processed synovial biopsies. Conclusions

Methylene blue, trypan blue, neutral red, and Janus green B stains can be used safely for microarthroscopy. Good visualization of cells and vascular network can be obtained by microarthroscopy, and microarthroscopic evaluation of the synovium compares favorably with conventional histologic evaluation of biopsy specimens. Clinical relevance

Microarthroscopy may be beneficial in both research and clinical diagnosis of equine articular diseases.
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Keywords: horse; joint pathology; microarthroscopy; synovial membrane; vital stains

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: From the Departments of Clinical Sciences, and Anatomy, Physiology, and Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, Auburn, AL.

Publication date: July 1, 2005

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