Effects of diabetes mellitus on the biomechanical properties of human ankle cartilage

K. A. Athanasiou, J. G. Fleischli, J. Bosma, T. J. Laughlin, C. F. Zhu, C. M. Agrawal, L. A. Lavery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Metabolic changes attributable to diabetes mellitus affect numerous organ systems in the body. For example, patients with diabetes have an increased number of musculoskeletal injuries and afflictions compared with patients without diabetes and experience more morbidity associated with injury and treatment. Although diabetes also may afflict articular cartilage, no studies have shown a conclusive link between diabetes and cartilage structural integrity. The objective of this study was to obtain and compare the intrinsic material properties of human ankle articular cartilage from patients with diabetes and those without diabetes. These biomechanical properties (aggregate modulus, Poisson's ratio, shear modulus, and permeability) were found to differ significantly between specimens from patients with diabetes and patients without diabetes. Specifically, cartilage from patients with diabetes was significantly softer and more permeable than cartilage from control subjects. For example, in the central portion of the talus, cartilage from patients with diabetes had a 38% smaller aggregate modulus, 37% smaller shear modulus, and 111% larger permeability than did tissue from patients without diabetes. These results provide evidence that joint pathologic processes in patients with diabetes may be associated with compromised structural integrity of articular cartilage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-189
Number of pages8
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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