Abstract

Previous studies have shown that reconstructive surgery alone following injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) does not prevent the development of post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA). Poloxamer 188 (P188) has been shown to prevent cell death following trauma in both articular cartilage and meniscal tissue. This study aims to test the efficacy of single or multiple administrations of P188 in conjunction with reconstructive surgery to help prevent or delay the onset of the disease. Thirty skeletally mature rabbits underwent closed-joint trauma that resulted in ACL rupture and meniscal damage and were randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups with varying doses of P188. ACL reconstruction was then performed using an autograft from the semitendinosus tendon. Animals were euthanized 1-month following trauma, meniscal tissue was assessed for changes in morphology, mechanical properties, and proteoglycan content. Femurs and tibias were scanned using microcomputed tomography to determine changes in bone quality, architecture, and osteophyte formation. The medial meniscus experienced more damage and a decrease in the instantaneous modulus regardless of treatment group, while P188 treatment tended to limit degenerative changes in the lateral meniscus. Both lateral and medial menisci had documented decreases in the equilibrium modulus and inconsistent changes in proteoglycan content. Minimal changes were documented in the tibias and femurs, with the only significant change being the formation of osteophytes in both bones regardless of treatment group. The data suggest that P188 was able to limit some degenerative changes in the meniscus associated with PTOA and may warrant future studies.

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