University of Cambridge > > Engineering for the Life Sciences Seminars > Knee Joint Meniscus Mechanobiology

Knee Joint Meniscus Mechanobiology

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Michelle L. Oyen.

Meniscal tissue is a fibrocartilagenous tissue in your knee that is frequently injured/torn during high impact activity, or as a result of the aging process. While it has long been established that meniscectomy, or removal of damaged meniscal tissue, leads to osteoarthritis, the role of the knee joint meniscus in the progression of osteoarthritis has received much less attention. This presentation will describe the work completed to date aimed at understanding the role of the meniscus in knee joint behavior both biomechanically and biochemically. Computational models of the human knee joint will be presented that have been used to determine the loading environment in the knee following varying degrees of partial meniscectomy. These stresses and strains following partial meniscectomy have been used to drive an in vitro study of the biochemical consequences of both underloading the meniscus as well as overloading (a condition resulting from partial meniscectomy). An in vitro bioreactor has been constructed to simulate the mechanical environment in the knee and compress meniscal tissue explants. Through our bioreactor stimulations, we have shown that removing 30% or more of the meniscus leads to proteoglycan breakdown and elevated levels of catabolic biomolecules responsible for cell death and matrix disruption in the remaining meniscal tissue. This research provides a fundamental understanding of meniscus mechanobiology that may be helpful in the development of tissue engineered meniscal replacements. Additionally, this work could be used to significantly reduce the incidences of osteoarthritis resulting from meniscal tissue deficiencies.

This talk is part of the Engineering for the Life Sciences Seminars series.

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