A novel rat model of stable posttraumatic joint stiffness of the knee
Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research, 2018, 13(1): 185.
Background: Animal models of posttraumatic joint stiffness (PTJS) are helpful in understanding underlying mechanisms, which is important for developing specific treatments and prophylactic therapies. Existing rat models of PTJS in the knee failed to show that the created contracture does not resolve through subsequent remobilization. Our objective was to establish a rat model of persisting PTJS of the knee and compare it to existing models.
Methods: Thirty skeletally immature male Sprague Dawley rats underwent surgical intervention with knee hyperextension, extracartilaginous femoral condyle defect, and Kirschner (K)-wire transfixation for 4 weeks with the knee joint in 146.7 degrees /- 7. 7 degrees of flexion (n = 10 per group, groups I-III). After K-wire removal, group I underwent joint angle measurements and group II and group III were allowed for 4 or 8 weeks of free cage activity, respectively, before joint angles were measured. Eighteen rats (n = 6 per group, groups Ic-IIIc) served as untreated control.
Results: Arthrogenic contracture was largest in group I (55.2 degrees). After 4 weeks of remobilization, the contracture decreased to 25.7 degrees in group II (p < 0.05 vs. group I), whereas 8 weeks of remobilization did not reduce the contracture significantly (group III, 26.5 degrees, p = 0.06 vs. group I). Between 4 and 8 weeks of remobilization, no increase in extension (26.5 degrees in group III, p = 0.99 vs. group II) was observed. Interestingly, muscles did not contribute to the development of contracture.
Conclusion: In our new rat model of PTJS of the knee joint, we were able to create a significant joint contracture with an immobilization time of only 4 weeks after trauma. Remobilization of up to 8 weeks alone did not result in full recovery of the range of motion. This model represents a powerful tool for further investigations on prevention and treatment of PTJS. Future studies of our group will use this new model to analyze medical treatment options for PTJS.
Small animal model; Posttraumatic joint stiffness; Myofibroblasts; Contracture development