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Open Access Evaluation of the Rat Stifle Joint After Transection of the Cranial Cruciate Ligament and Partial Medial Meniscectomy

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Osteoarthritis (OA) was induced in the rat stifle joint by partial medial meniscectomy (PMM) and transection of the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL). At 10 weeks after destabilization, joint morphologic and pathologic changes were observed, scored, and compared. The intact rat stifle joint was observed in a mid-saggital plane. Articular cartilage of the distal portion of the femur and proximal portion of the tibia had thicker and thinner sites, and the thicker sites were located caudally on the distal portion of the femur and centrally on the proximal portion of the tibia. The two separate triangular portions of the medial meniscus observed in the mid-saggital plane contained a center of ossification in the cranial portion and fibrocartilage in the caudal portion. The synovium was one to three cells thick, and contained rare inflammatory cells. Although lesions were more severe in stifles after PMM, both treatments produced OA lesions that closely simulated OA lesions of other species. Lesions consistent with idiopathic OA included chondrocytic clones with increased metachromasia around them, chondrocytic death, loss of metachromasia, fibrillation, fissuring, erosion of articular cartilage, osteophyte formation, and variable synovial inflammation. The results indicate that PMM and CCL transection in the rat are useful in vivo models for study of the etiopathogenesis of OA and therapeutic efficacy of anti-arthritic drugs and treatment concepts.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Departments of Anatomy, Physiology, and Pharmacology, 109 Greene Hall, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, Alabama, 36849 2: Department of Pathobiology, 109 Greene Hall, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, Alabama, 36849

Publication date: December 1, 2001

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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