The synovium is a multilayer connective tissue separating the intra-articular spaces of the diarthrodial joint from the extra-synovial vascular and lymphatic supply. Synovium regulates drug transport into and out of the joint, yet its material properties remain poorly characterized. Here, we measured the compressive properties (aggregate modulus, Young's modulus, and Poisson's ratio) and hydraulic permeability of synovium with a combined experimental-computational approach. A compressive aggregate modulus and Young's modulus for the solid phase of synovium were quantified from linear regression of the equilibrium confined and unconfined compressive stress upon strain, respectively (HA = 4.3 ± 2.0 kPa, Es = 2.1 ± 0.75, porcine; HA = 3.1 ± 2.0 kPa, Es = 2.8 ± 1.7, human). Poisson's ratio was estimated to be 0.39 and 0.40 for porcine and human tissue, respectively, from moduli values in a Monte Carlo simulation. To calculate hydraulic permeability, a biphasic finite element model's predictions were numerically matched to experimental data for the time-varying ramp and hold phase of a single increment of applied strain (k = 7.4 ± 4.1 × 10−15 m4/N.s, porcine; k = 7.4 ± 4.3 × 10−15 m4/N.s, human). We can use these newly measured properties to predict fluid flow gradients across the tissue in response to previously reported intra-articular pressures. These values for material constants are to our knowledge the first available measurements in synovium that are necessary to better understand drug transport in both healthy and pathological joints.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-581
Number of pages7
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2022


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