What Keeps Cartilage Bound So Tightly to Bone? Microscale Properties of the Osteochondral Cement Line

Project: Research

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Joint cartilage grips bone via a mineralised, thin (-2-10 μm) cement line layer. Cement line is formed when osteoclast cells resorb calcified cartilage, and osteoblasts lay down new bone on top of the freshly exposed cartilage surface. Cartilage collagen penetrates cement line, which raises the untested possibility that it might bond to bone collagen forming covalent bonds between bone and cartilage. Bone and calcified cartilage are composite materials, predominantly hydroxyapatite mineral and collagens. In decalcified thin sections, in which 3D geometry has been disrupted and mineral has been removed, healthy adult cartilage is rarely separated from bone indicating that a cartilage-bone bond may exist in the organic phase. Calcified cartilage remains attached to bone after maceration with proteolytic enzymes indicating that a bond exists in the inorganic phase. This project aims to generate histological and synchrotron radiation microtomography images to determine the basis of bone's strong grip on cartilage. 


Project number7005322
Grant typeSRG-Fd
Effective start/end date1/10/19 → …