Detection and distribution of apoptotic cell death in normal and diseased canine cranial cruciate ligaments

Vet J. 2007 Sep;174(2):371-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2006.07.006. Epub 2006 Sep 7.


One of the possible initiating factors in canine cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) rupture could be an abnormal pattern of ligament cell death. This study compared apoptotic cell death in sections of ruptured CCLs and normal controls, and examined nitric oxide (NO) production in joint tissues and correlated this to apoptosis. CCLs and cartilage from the lateral femoral condyle were harvested from 10 healthy dogs and 15 dogs with CCL rupture and ligaments were further processed to detect cleaved caspase-3 and to determine supernatant NO production in explant cultures. Apoptotic activity was greater in ruptured ligaments compared to controls. NO in ligaments showed a moderate but significant positive correlation with caspase-positive cells. The results suggest that increased apoptosis has a role in CCL rupture and that apoptosis may be influenced by local NO production.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / cytology
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / metabolism*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / pathology
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries*
  • Apoptosis*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism*
  • Dogs
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Rupture / enzymology
  • Rupture / metabolism
  • Rupture / veterinary


  • Nitric Oxide
  • Caspase 3