The objective of this study was to: (1) determine the distribution of lubricin in the human torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and meniscus; (2) determine the distribution of lubricin in the human intact ACL and meniscus; (3) and identify potential cellular sources of lubricin in these tissues. Ten torn ACLs and six torn menisci were obtained from surgeries; for comparison, 11 intact ACLs and 13 intact menisci were obtained from total knee replacements. Samples were formalin fixed and processed for immunohistochemical staining with a monoclonal antibody for lubricin. In torn ACLs and menisci, lubricin was generally found as a discrete layer covering the torn surface. No surface lubricin staining was found on the transected edges produced during excision. Lubricin was also found on the native surfaces of intact ACLs and menisci. In all tissues, lubricin was found in the matrix and intracellularly. The surface layer of lubricin coating torn edges of ACLs and menisci may interfere with the integrative healing process needed for repair.
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