Objective: To develop and perform ex vivo 3D imaging of meniscus posterior horn microstructure using micro-computed tomography (μCT), and to compare specimens from healthy references against end-stage osteoarthritis (OA) using conventional section-based histology and qualitative μCT.
Design: We retrieved human medial and lateral menisci from 10 deceased donors without knee OA (healthy references) and medial and lateral menisci from 10 patients having total knee replacement for medial compartment OA. Meniscal posterior horns were dissected and fixed in formalin. One subsection underwent hexamethyldisilazane (HMDS) treatment and μCT imaging. Pauli's histopathological scoring was performed for 3 other subsections. The differences in histopathological scores were estimated using mixed linear regression, resulting in fixed effects estimates for within-knee comparisons and adjusted for age and body mass index for between-subjects comparisons.
Results: 3D visualization with μCT qualitatively revealed similar microstructural changes in the posterior horns as conventional histology. The mean histopathological score was higher for medial menisci from OA knees vs both medial reference menisci (mean difference [95% CI], 3.9 [2.6,5.3]), and lateral menisci from OA knees (3.9 [2.9,5.0]). The scores were similar between lateral menisci from OA knees and lateral reference menisci (0.8 [-0.6,2.2]), and between medial and lateral reference menisci (0.8 [-0.3,1.9]).
Conclusions: HMDS-based μCT protocol allows unique 3D visualization of meniscus microstructures. Posterior horns of medial menisci from medial compartment OA knees had higher histopathological scores than both the lateral posterior horns from the same OA knees and medial reference menisci, suggesting a strong association between meniscus degradation and unicompartmental knee OA.
Keywords: Histopathological score; Meniscus; Micro-computed tomography; Osteoarthritis.
Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.