Translational relevance of the goat as a preclinical model of the human labrum and chondrolabral junction-histological study

J Orthop Res. 2020 May;38(5):1070-1080. doi: 10.1002/jor.24546. Epub 2019 Dec 10.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the histologic features of the caprine labrum, with emphasis on the chondrolabral junction, with the goal of informing the feasibility of the goat as an animal model. The left hip joint of six adolescent Spanish goats (Capra pyrenaica) was harvested and subjected to anatomical and histological assessments. Human acetabular and femoral head samples, collected during total hip arthroplasty, served as comparison samples. The caprine labrum was found to consist of mostly type I collagen with uniform crimp, with an average crimp length of 20.8 µm. Upon histological assessment, acetabular articular chondrocytes were found to express substance-P, especially near or in the chondrolabral junction. And the majority of nonvascular cells expressed α-smooth muscle actin (SMA), with no notable elastin and laminin expression. Human labrum demonstrated similar staining patterns. Overall, the goat hip was found to be homologous to the human hip, demonstrating potential as a useful animal model for future studies. This is the first report of a crimped collagen structure in the labrum. Crimped type I collagen at the chondrolabral junction imparts an extension-recovery property which allows for toleration of stress without permanent deformation, underlying the importance of its preservation during surgery. The high expression of substance-P reflects the degree to which the labrum is innervated. Finally, the expression of α-SMA with contractile characteristics could indicate the potential for chondrocyte (i.e., myochondrocytes) modeling of the extracellular matrix. Statement of Clinical Significance: Establishment of a large animal model and deeper knowledge of the histological composition of the hip joint will enhance our study of the acetabular labrum, including repair techniques. © 2019 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 38:1070-1080, 2020.

Keywords: caprine; chondrolabral junction; collagen type I; crimp; goat; substance-P; α-smooth muscle actin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Goats*
  • Hip Injuries / surgery*
  • Hip Joint / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal*