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A Model Of Lubricant Gelling In Synovial Joints

R. Collins
Published 1982 · Materials Science

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A new unified theory is proposed to describe the rate of initial build-up of a lubricant mucopolysaccharide “gel” on the articular surfaces of the principal weight-bearing joints during normal walking. The fluid transport in the deformable porous cartilaginous matrix is computed from a simple analysis of the coupled equations of motion and incorporates the measured dependence of cartilage permeability on pressure and compressive strain. The resulting flow into the intra-articular gap space (5000 ~ 10,000 Å) provides the required boundary condition for the subsequent analysis of the transport of mucopolysaccharide (mucin) long-chain molecules which may form a lubricant gel layer at local concentrations exceeding a critical value. It is shown that the initial rate of formation of lubricant gel depends upon the cartilage permeability and bulk modulus, the loading function, the viscosity and ambient concentration of the long-chain mucin molecules in synovial fluid, and most particularly upon the magnitude of the transverse flux due to ultrafiltration of fluid through the loaded cartilage by exudation and imbibition. The model may provide a framework for much needed further careful experimentation, and serve as a basis for the preliminary design of articular prostheses to function on physiological principles.RésuméOn propose une nouvelle théorie globale pour décrire le taux initial de formation d'un ≪gel≫ mucopolysaccharide lubrifiant les surfaces articulaires du genou et de la hanche pendant la marche normale. Le transport de fluide dans la matrice poreuse et déformable que constitue le cartilage se calcule à partir d'une analyse simple des équations couplées régissant les mouvements, et tenant compte des variations mesurées de la perméabilité du cartilage en fonction des pressions et des déformations. Le champs des écoulements qui en résulte au sein de l'espace intra-articulaire (5000 à 10.000 Å) fournit la condition limite requise pour passer à la seconde phase de l'analyse. Celle-ci a pour but de déterminer le transport des molécules polysaccharides à longue chaine susceptibles de former une couche de gel lubrifiant à des concentrations dépassant un seuil critique. On démontre que le taux initial de formation de gel est fonction de la perméabilité et du module de dilatation volumique du cartilage, de l'application de la charge, de la viscosité et de la concentration ambiante des molécules de mucine du liquide synovial, et plus particulièrement des flux transversaux dus à l'ultrafiltration à travers le cartilage sous charge par les mécanismes d'exsudation et imbibition. Ce modèle pourrait servir de plan directeur pour l'élaboration de futures expérimentations qui s'avèreraient nécessaires. Il servirait également comme base de départ à la conception préliminaire de prothèses articulaires fonctionnant sur les principes naturels de la physiologie.
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