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Investigations of Cartilage Matrix Degeneration in Patients with Early-Stage Femoral Head Necrosis

Ronghua Xu, Bo Wei, Jiayi Li, Chenyu Huang, Rongcai Lin, Cheng Tang, Yan Xu, Qingqiang Yao, Liming Wang

Department of Orthopedics, Nanjing First Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2017; 23:5783-5792

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.907522

Available online:

Published: 2017-12-06

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to explore changes in cartilage matrix in early-stage femoral head necrosis (FHN).
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Femoral head samples of patients with early FHN were collected during total hip arthroplasty (THA), high-field 7.0T MRI scans were performed in vitro, and the average T2 values were calculated. Cartilage samples were obtained from the weight-bearing area (FHN group) and non-weight-bearing area (Control group), divided into 3 equal parts and used for biochemical analysis, histopathological staining, and gene expression analysis.
RESULTS: T2 mapping of the femoral head specimens showed that the density distribution of cartilage surface was not uniform, and the average T2 value increased unevenly. Histological staining demonstrated that the number of chondrocytes was significantly decreased and they were irregularly arranged, SO staining was lost, and collagen fiber arrangement was slightly more irregular on the cartilage surface in the FHN group. The biochemical results in the FHN group showed that the water content increased significantly and the DNA content decreased significantly, while no significant changes in GAG and total collagen contents were detected. Gene expression analysis in the FHN group showed that SOX9 expression was significantly down-regulated, while COL10A1 and RUNX2 expressions were significantly up-regulated. The expression of ACAN and COL2A1 were decreased and COL1A1 was increased, but there was no significant difference compared with the Control group.
CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, the results of this study suggest that patients with early-stage FHN tend to have cartilage matrix degeneration, which provides new ideas for studying the pathogenesis of FHN and selecting treatment strategies.

Keywords: Femur Head Necrosis, Macular Degeneration, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Matrilin Proteins