Bone and cartilage changes following experimental varus or valgus tibial angulation

J Orthop Res. 1990 Jul;8(4):572-85. doi: 10.1002/jor.1100080414.


The purpose of this work was to determine whether subchondral bone changes are an integral part of the development of osteoarthrosis of the knee following experimentally created tibial angulation. Thirty degree varus or valgus proximal tibial osteotomies were created in female New Zealand white rabbits. Bone and cartilage changes were assessed grossly, radiologically, and histologically. Thirty-four weeks following osteotomy, severe cartilage changes, including osteophytes, fibrillation, derangement of cell columns, and cloning, were evident on the overloaded condyle, accompanied by increased subchondral bone density. The pattern of cartilage deterioration was different from that found in other experimental, mechanically induced arthroses. We conclude that osteoarthrosis is a final common pathway for mechanically induced joint failure, and that progressive cartilage change is associated with increased subchondral bone density.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Density / physiology
  • Bone and Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone and Bones / pathology*
  • Bone and Bones / physiopathology
  • Cartilage, Articular / diagnostic imaging
  • Cartilage, Articular / pathology*
  • Cartilage, Articular / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Knee Joint / surgery*
  • Osteoarthritis / etiology
  • Osteoarthritis / pathology
  • Osteoarthritis / physiopathology
  • Osteotomy / adverse effects*
  • Rabbits
  • Radiography
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Synovial Membrane / pathology
  • Synovial Membrane / physiopathology
  • Tibia / diagnostic imaging
  • Tibia / pathology*
  • Tibia / physiopathology