A new biological glue for cartilage-cartilage interfaces: tissue transglutaminase

J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1997 Feb;79(2):185-93. doi: 10.2106/00004623-199702000-00004.


In this study, we used an in vitro model to test the capacity of tissue transglutaminase to increase the adhesive strength at a cartilage-cartilage interface. Full-thickness cartilage-bone cylinders were prepared from fresh adult bovine shoulder joints, and the superficial half of the hyaline cartilage was then removed to provide a plane surface. Tissue transglutaminase was applied to the freshly cut surface of one cylinder, and a calcium-chloride solution (to act as an activating agent) was applied to that of the other. The cartilage surfaces were immediately apposed, one on top of the other, and an eighty-gram weight was applied to the upper cylinder for ten minutes at 37 degrees Celsius under defined humidity conditions. A measured force was then applied transversely to the upper cylinder until it was displaced from the lower one (which was clamped in a holding device), and the force recorded at this point was taken as a measure of the adhesive strength achieved at the cartilage-cartilage interface. The adhesive strength increased linearly with an increasing concentration of tissue transglutaminase (0.25 to 2.75 milligrams per milliliter) and was enhanced by increasing the duration of incubation, but it was not influenced by the level of humidity. The adhesive strength was improved by as much as 40 per cent when the cartilage surfaces had been pretreated with chondroitinase AC or hyaluronidase to remove glycosaminoglycan chains of proteoglycans, which are largely responsible for the intrinsic anti-adhesive properties of cartilage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adhesiveness
  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cartilage*
  • Cattle
  • Fibrin Tissue Adhesive / therapeutic use
  • Tissue Adhesives / therapeutic use*
  • Transglutaminases / therapeutic use*


  • Fibrin Tissue Adhesive
  • Tissue Adhesives
  • Transglutaminases