Cross-talk of subchondral bone and articular cartilage could be an important aspect in the etiology of osteoarthritis. Previous research has provided some evidence of transport of small molecules (~370 Da) through the calcified cartilage and subchondral bone plate in murine osteoarthritis models. The current study, for the first time, uses a neutral diffusing computed tomography (CT) contrast agent (iodixanol, ~1550 Da) to study the permeability of the osteochondral interface in equine and human samples. Sequential CT monitoring of diffusion after injecting a finite amount of contrast agent solution onto the cartilage surface using a micro-CT showed penetration of the contrast molecules across the cartilage-bone interface. Moreover, diffusion through the cartilage-bone interface was affected by thickness and porosity of the subchondral bone as well as the cartilage thickness in both human and equine samples. Our results revealed that porosity of the subchondral plate contributed more strongly to the diffusion across osteochondral interface compared to other morphological parameters in healthy equine samples. However, thickness of the subchondral plate contributed more strongly to the diffusion in slightly osteoarthritic human samples.
- Osteochondral interface
- Micro-computed tomography
- Iodixanol diffusion
- Subchondral plate thickness and porosity
- Articular cartilage