Early Regional Adaptation of Periarticular Bone Mineral Density after Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury

Boyd, S.K., Mayas, J.R., Wohl, G.R., Kantzas, A. and Zernicke, R.F.

Journal of Applied Physiology, 89(6), December 2000, Pages 2359-2364.


The present study measured early-stage adaptation of bone mineral (BMD) in the periarticular cancellous bone of the canine knee (stifle) joint after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) transection (ACLX). Regional changes in BMD in the tibia and femur were analyzed by using quantitative computed tomography (qCT) at 3 wk and 12 wk after unilateral ACLX to determine whether there were focal points for BMD changes and whether these changes occurred early after the induced knee injury. BMD decreased rapidly after ACLX, and the more pronounced response was in the femur. In the 3-wk group, there were decreases in BMD in the tibia and the femur, and these changes were significant in the posterior-medial region of the femur, which showed a decrease of BMD in the ACLX limb (−0.048 ± 0.011 g/cm3). In the 12-wk group, all regions in the tibia and femur exhibited significant decreases in BMD, and the average decrease was greatest in the posterior-medial region of the femur (−0.142 ± 0.021 g/cm3). The regions of pronounced periarticular cancellous BMD adaptation corresponded to observed focal cartilage defects. Early decreases in BMD in the injured knee may be related to altered loading and kinematics in the knee and may be an important link in the pathogenesis of posttraumatic osteoarthritis.

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