Permeability of human medial collateral ligament in compression transverse to the collagen fiber direction

J Biomech. 2006;39(2):276-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2004.11.016. Epub 2005 Jan 13.


This study quantified the apparent and intrinsic hydraulic permeability of human medial collateral ligament (MCL) under direct permeation transverse to the collagen fiber direction. A custom permeation device was built to apply flow across cylindrical samples of ligament while monitoring the resulting pressure gradient. MCLs from 5 unpaired human knees were used (donor age 55 +/- 16 yr, 4 males, 1 female). Permeability measurements were performed at 3 levels of compressive pre-strain (10%, 20% and 30%) and 5 pressures (0.17, 0.34, 1.03, 1.72 and 2.76 MPa). Apparent permeability was determined from Darcy's law, while intrinsic permeability was determined from the zero-pressure crossing of the pressure-permeability curves at each compressive pre-strain. Resulting data were fit to a finite deformation constitutive law [Journal of Biomechanics 23 (1990) 1145-1156]. The apparent permeability of human MCL ranged from 0.40 +/- 0.05 to 8.60 +/- 0.77 x 10(-16) m(4)/Ns depending on pre-strain and pressure gradient. There was a significant decrease in apparent permeability with increasing compressive pre-strain (p=0.024) and pressure gradient (p<0.001), and there was a significant interaction between the effects of compressive pre-strain and pressure (p<0.001). Intrinsic permeability was 14.14 +/- 0.74, 6.30 +/- 2.13 and 4.29 +/- 1.71 x 10(-16) m(4)/Ns for compressive pre-strains of 10%, 20% and 30%, respectively. The intrinsic permeability showed a faster decrease with increasing compressive pre-strain than that of bovine articular cartilage. These data provide a baseline for investigating the effects of disease and chemical modification on the permeability of ligament and the data should also be useful for modeling the poroelastic material behavior of ligaments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anisotropy
  • Body Water / physiology*
  • Cadaver
  • Compressive Strength / physiology
  • Elasticity
  • Female
  • Fibrillar Collagens / physiology*
  • Fibrillar Collagens / ultrastructure*
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Medial Collateral Ligament, Knee / cytology*
  • Medial Collateral Ligament, Knee / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Permeability
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology*


  • Fibrillar Collagens