Histomorphometry of the aging human patella: histologic criteria and controls

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 1999 Mar;7(2):173-81. doi: 10.1053/joca.1998.0206.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / pathology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / pathology*
  • Patella / anatomy & histology
  • Patella / pathology*
  • Sex Distribution