Meniscus Induced Cartilaginous Damage and Non-linear Gross Anatomical Progression of Early-stage Osteoarthritis in a Canine Model

David Kahn1, Daniel Mittelstaedt1, John Matyas2, Xiangui Qu3, Ji Hyun Lee1, Farid Badar1, Clifford Les4, Zhiguo Zhuang5, Yang Xia1, *
1 Department of Physics and Center for Biomedical Research, Oakland University, Rochester, MI 48309, USA
2 Department of Comparative Biology and Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 4N1, Canada
3 Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Oakland University, Rochester, MI 48309, USA
4 Veterinary Medical Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
5 Department of Radiology, Renji Hospital, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, 200127 China

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© Kahn et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Physics and Center for Biomedical Research, Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan 48309, USA; Tel: (248) 370-3420; Fax: (248) 370-3408; E-mail:



The predictable outcome of the anterior cruciate ligament transection (ACLT) canine model, and the similarity to naturally occurring osteoarthritis (OA) in humans, provide a translatable method for studying OA. Still, evidence of direct meniscus-induced cartilaginous damage has not been identified, and gross-anatomical blinded scoring of early-stage OA has not been performed.


A gross anatomical observation and statistical analysis of OA progression to determine meniscus induced cartilaginous damage, to measure the macroscopic progression of OA, and to address matters involving arthroscopic and surgical procedures of the knee.


Unblinded assessment and blinded scoring of meniscal, tibial, femoral, and patellar damage were performed for control and at four time points following unilateral ACLT: 3-week (N=4), 8-week (N=4), 12-week (N=5), and 25-week (N=4). Mixed-model statistics illustrates damage (score) progression; Wilcoxon rank-sum tests compared time-point scores; and Wilcoxon signed-rank tests compared ACLT and contralateral scores, and meniscus and tibia scores.


Damage was manifest first on the posterior aspect of the medial meniscus and subsequently on the tibia and femur, implying meniscal damage can precede, coincide with, and aggravate cartilage damage. Damage extent varied chronologically and was dependent upon the joint component. Meniscal damage was evident at 3 weeks and progressed through 25-weeks. Meniscal loose bodies corresponded to tibial cartilage damage location and extent through 12 weeks, followed by cartilage repair activity after complete meniscal degeneration.


This study provides additional information for understanding OA progression, identifying OA biomarkers, and arthroscopic and meniscectomy procedures.

Keywords: Canine, Femur, Knee, Meniscus, Osteoarthritis, Patella, Score, Tibia.