Infrared spectroscopy is suitable for objective assessment of articular cartilage health

Osteoarthr Cartil Open. 2022 Mar 9;4(2):100250. doi: 10.1016/j.ocarto.2022.100250. eCollection 2022 Jun.


Objective: To evaluate the feasibility of Fourier transform infrared attenuated total reflectance (FTIR-ATR) spectroscopy to detect cartilage degradation due to osteoarthritis and to validate the methodology with osteochondral human cartilage samples for future development towards clinical use.

Design: Cylindrical (d ​= ​4 ​mm) osteochondral samples (n ​= ​349) were prepared from nine human cadavers and measured with FTIR-ATR spectroscopy. Afterwards, the samples were assessed with Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) osteoarthritis cartilage histopathology assessment system and divided into two groups: 1) healthy (OARSI 0-2) and 2) osteoarthritic (OARSI 2.5-6). The classification was done with partial least squares discriminant analysis model utilizing cross-model validation. Receiver operating characteristics curve analysis was performed and the area under curve (AUC) was calculated.

Results: For all samples combined, classification accuracy was 73% with AUC of 0.79. Femoral samples had accuracy of 74% and AUC of 0.77, while tibial samples had accuracy of 66%, and AUC of 0.74. Patellar samples had accuracy of 84% and AUC of 0.91.

Conclusions: The results indicate that FTIR-ATR spectroscopy can differentiate between healthy and osteoarthritic femoral, tibial and patellar human tissue. If combined with a fiber optic probe, FTIR-ATR spectroscopy could provide additional objective intraoperative information during arthroscopic surgeries, which could improve clinical outcomes.

Keywords: Arthroscopy; Cartilage; Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy; Osteoarthritis.