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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(4), 829;

Can Early Rehabilitation Prevent Posttraumatic Osteoarthritis in the Patellofemoral Joint after Anterior Cruciate Ligament Rupture? Understanding the Pathological Features

Department of Sports Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan
3D Printing Medical Research Center, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung 404, Taiwan
Laboratory Animal Center, Department of Medical Research, Chi-Mei Medical Center, Tainan 710, Taiwan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Charles J. Malemud and Ali Mobasheri
Received: 5 April 2017 / Revised: 11 April 2017 / Accepted: 11 April 2017 / Published: 14 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry)
Full-Text   |   PDF [11521 KB, uploaded 14 April 2017]   |  


Knee instability resulting from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture is a high-risk factor for posttraumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA) in the patellofemoral joint (PFJ). However, whether non-weight-bearing and weight-bearing treatments have chondroprotective effects remains unclear. Twenty-four adult New Zealand White male rabbits were employed in this study. All animals received ACL transection in the right knee and sham surgery in the left knee. The rabbits were randomly assigned to the following groups: (I) In the sedentary (SED) group, the rabbits (n = 6) were simply kept in their cage; (II) In the continuous passive motion (CPM) group, the rabbits (n = 6) performed CPM exercise for 7 days, starting from the first postoperative day; (III) In the active treadmill exercise (TRE) group, the rabbits (n = 6) performed TRE for 2 weeks; (IV) In the CPM + TRE group, the rabbits (n = 6) executed CPM exercise, followed by TRE. Two joint surfaces (the retropatella and femoral trochlear groove) were assessed at 4 weeks after operation. Although the gross appearance in each group was comparable, histological examination revealed significant differences in the articular cartilage status. The CPM group exhibited a greater thickness of articular cartilage, maintenance of tidemark continuity, abundant glycosaminoglycan (GAG), and significantly lower inflammatory cytokine 9, e.g., tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) 0 levels, with modest cell apoptosis (i.e., caspase-3). By contrast, the TRE group displayed the worst pathological features: an irregular cartilage surface and chondrocyte disorganization, reduced cartilage thickness, breakdown of the tidemark, depletion of collagen fibers, loss of GAG, and the highest levels of TNF-α and caspase-3 expression. Furthermore, the CPM + TRE group had more favorable outcomes than the SED group, indicating that suitable exercise is needed. The sham treatment displayed no variance in the changes in the two joint surfaces among groups. These data indicate that the application of early CPM rehabilitation is suggested for subjects in order to decrease the risk of PTOA without ACL reconstruction in the PFJ compartment in rabbits. The early TRE program, however, had harmful outcomes. Additionally, inactivity was discovered to initiate the development of PTOA. View Full-Text
Keywords: apoptosis; osteoarthritis; articular cartilage; ligament; physical therapy; histology apoptosis; osteoarthritis; articular cartilage; ligament; physical therapy; histology

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Chang, N.-J.; Shie, M.-Y.; Lee, K.-W.; Chou, P.-H.; Lin, C.-C.; Chu, C.-J. Can Early Rehabilitation Prevent Posttraumatic Osteoarthritis in the Patellofemoral Joint after Anterior Cruciate Ligament Rupture? Understanding the Pathological Features. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 829.

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