Effects of ageing on the biomechanical properties of rat articular cartilage

L. Wang, D. N. Kalu, Jameela Banu, J. B. Thomas, N. Gabriel, K. Athanasiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Previous studies have demonstrated that male Sprague Dawley (SD) rats experience age-related bone loss with the same characteristics as that in ageing men. As articular cartilage, like bone, is a critical component of the health and function of the musculoskeletal system, the authors hypothesized that articular cartilage in the untreated male SD rats could be a suitable model for studying the age-related deterioration of articular cartilage in men. To test this hypothesis, male SD rats were killed at between 6 and 27 months. The right femur of each rat was removed. The effects of ageing on the structural integrity of the distal femoral articular cartilage were studied by biomechanical testing with a creep indentation apparatus. The aggregate modulus, Poisson's ratio, permeability, thickness, and percentage recovery of articular cartilage were determined using finite element/non-linear optimization modelling. No significant differences were observed in these biomechanical properties of the distal femoral articular cartilage as a function of age. Therefore, untreated male SD rats appear to be unsuitable for studying the age-related changes of articular cartilage as they occur in men. However, and more intriguingly, it is also possible that ageing does not affect the biomechanical properties of articular cartilage in the absence of cartilage pathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-578
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2006


  • Ageing
  • Articular cartilage biomechanics
  • Creep indentation
  • Male Sprague Dawley rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


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