Objective: A histomorphometric analysis of patellae from necropsies on persons between the third and tenth decades of life was carried out to trace the natural history of osteoarthritis.
Design: Minutiae of the histological changes in the surface and basilar portions of the articular cartilage were developed as criteria for the quantitation. A total of 99 patellas were harvested in the stated age range. The present study reports the results of ten grossly and radiologically normal specimens from subjects 23-32 years old served as controls.
Results: None of the control patellae were entirely histologically normal. Abnormality of the cartilage surface did not consistently proceed remodeling at the attachment to the subchondral plate.
Conclusions: This observation throws into question the concept that osteoarthritis has a single histogenesis or always arises in articular cartilage.
Copyright 1999 OsteoArthritis Research Society International.