Objective: Meniscal tears are a common knee injury and increased levels of interleukin-1 (IL-1) have been measured in injured and degenerated joints. Studies have shown that IL-1 decreases the shear strength, cell accumulation, and tissue formation in meniscal repair interfaces. While mechanical stress and IL-1 modulate meniscal biosynthesis and degradation, the effects of dynamic loading on meniscal repair are unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of mechanical compression on meniscal repair under normal and inflammatory conditions. Experimental design: Explants were harvested from porcine medial menisci. To simulate a full-thickness defect, a central core was removed and reinserted. Explants were loaded for 4. h/day at 1. Hz and 0%-26% strain for 14 days in the presence of 0 or 100. pg/mL of IL-1. Media were assessed for matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity, aggrecanase activity, sulfated glycosaminoglycan (S-GAG) release, and nitric oxide (NO) production. After 14 days, biomechanical testing and histological analyses were performed. Results: IL-1 increased MMP activity, S-GAG release, and NO production, while decreasing the shear strength and tissue repair in the interface. Dynamic loading antagonized IL-1-mediated inhibition of repair at all strain amplitudes. Neither IL-1 treatment nor strain altered aggrecanase activity. Additionally, strain alone did not alter meniscal healing, except at the highest strain magnitude (26%), a level that enhanced the strength of repair. Conclusions: Dynamic loading blocked the catabolic effects of IL-1 on meniscal repair, suggesting that joint loading through physical therapy may be beneficial in promoting healing of meniscal lesions under inflammatory conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)830-838
Number of pages9
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Aggrecanase
  • Bioreactor
  • Matrix metalloproteinase
  • Mechanical loading
  • Meniscus
  • Nitric oxide
  • Tissue repair


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