Postnatal development of depth-dependent collagen density in ovine articular cartilage

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Articular cartilage (AC) is the layer of tissue that covers the articulating ends of the bones in diarthrodial joints. Adult AC is characterised by a depth-dependent composition and structure of the extracellular matrix that results in depth-dependent mechanical properties, important for the functions of adult AC. Collagen is the most abundant solid component and it affects the mechanical behaviour of AC. The current objective is to quantify the postnatal development of depth-dependent collagen density in sheep (Ovis aries) AC between birth and maturity. We use Fourier transform infra-red micro-spectroscopy to investigate collagen density in 48 sheep divided over ten sample points between birth (stillborn) and maturity (72 weeks). In each animal, we investigate six anatomical sites (caudal, distal and rostral locations at the medial and lateral side of the joint) in the distal metacarpus of a fore leg and a hind leg.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Developmental Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • rabbit knee-joint
  • functional adaptation
  • mechanical-properties
  • fibrillar collagens
  • network
  • proteoglycan
  • architecture
  • chondrocyte
  • maturation
  • anisotropy


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