Small-sized magnesium cylinders influence subchondral bone quality in osteoarthritic rabbits - an in vivo pilot study


No optimal therapy exists to stop or cure chondral degeneration in osteoarthritis (OA). While the pathogenesis is unclear, there is consensus on the etiological involvement of both articular cartilage and subchondral bone. Compared to original bone, the substance of sclerotic bone is mechanically less solid. The osteoproliferative effect of Mg has been shown repeatedly during development of Mg-based osteosynthesis implants. The aim of the present study was to examine the influence of implanted high-purity Mg cylinders on subchondral bone quality in a rabbit OA model. 10 New Zealand White rabbits received into the knee either 20 empty drill holes or 20 drill holes, which were additionally filled with one Mg cylinder each. Follow-up was at 8 weeks. Micro-computed tomography (µCT) was performed. After euthanasia, cartilage condition was determined, bone samples were collected and processed for histological evaluation and elemental imaging by micro-X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (µXRF). Articular cartilage collected post-mortem showed different stages of lesions, from mild alterations up to exposed subchondral bone, which tended to be slightly lower in animals with implanted Mg cylinders. µCT showed significantly increased bone volume in the Mg group. Also, histological evaluation revealed distinct differences. While right, operated limbs did not show any significant difference, left, non-operated controls showed significantly less changes in articular cartilage in the Mg group. A distinct influence of implanted cylinders of pure Mg on subchondral bone of osteoarthritic rabbits was shown. Subsequent evaluations, including other time points and alternative alloys, will show if this could alter OA progression.
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