Raman spectroscopy of articular cartilage and subchondral bone on osteoarthritic human femoral heads

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Kontoyannis, Christos
Vardaki, Martha
Megas, Panagiotis
Panteliou, Sofia
Orkoula, Malvina
Papachristou, Dionysios
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Osteoarthritis (OA), is a very common skeletal disease, characterized by the degeneration of the articular/hyaline cartilage and the subchondral bone. It is mostly caused by excessive mechanical loading on the joints, although it can also have biological/metabolic origins or contributions. Because cartilage is avascular it repairs very slowly, if at all. In the OA patients, hyaline cartilage is gradually destroyed and becomes eventually sufficiently thin that bony surfaces rub against each other, resulting in intense pain. The health of bone is clinically measured by non-invasive techniques that probe tissue architecture at various scales and with varying detail. Similarly, cartilage health is usually assessed by clinical examination and by histopathologic evaluation of excised specimens. The first is non-invasive but subjective while the second is time-consuming and painful, since the tissues are obtained after surgery. In the present work, Raman Spectroscopy was employed for the study of human osteoarthritic femoral heads as a potentially complementary method, because it reports on composition and chemical environment of important tissue constituents and hopefully can detect disease inducing damage to articular cartilage before it becomes visible using current clinical imaging methods. Subchondral bone composition and quality was evaluated. Spectral differences between collagen type I and II can mark the boundaries between bone tissue and articular cartilage in the osteoarthritic femoral head.
Osteoarthritis, Cartilage, Subchondral bone, Raman