Ph.D. Proposal Presentation by Ashley W. Palmer
Thursday, August 18, 2005

(Dr. Marc Levenston)

"Composition-Function Relationships in Injured Articular Cartilage: The Role of Tissue Maturation and Insult Type"


Injuries to articular cartilage have resulted in altered biochemical composition and mechanical properties and may accelerate the progression of degenerate conditions including osteoarthritis (OA). The success of clinical interventions aimed at treating cartilage injuries are limited by our poor understanding of the composition-function relationships involved during injury progression. The objectives of the proposed research are to characterize the composition-function relationships involved in biochemical and mechanical overload models of cartilage injury and the extent to which tissue maturation affects these relationships. Preliminary work has established a novel, non-destructive microcomputed tomography imaging technique that allows for the monitoring of proteoglycans within the cartilage matrix and validated this technique in an interleukin-1 (IL-1) model of cartilage degradation. Traditional biochemical assays and mechanical testing complement this imaging technique and have established differences in the dependence of the mechanical properties of control and IL-1 stimulated cartilage explants on proteoglycans. Future studies will investigate the effects of mechanical overload on the composition-function relationships in uninjured cartilage and examine the effects of tissue maturation on these relationships in injured cartilage. The results of the proposed research may provide insight into important targets for clinical intervention in addition to increasing our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms in cartilage injury.