Evaluation of the collagen fibers of the fresh meniscus and the meniscuses preserved in glycerine: experimental study in rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

In the present study was evaluated the effect of 98% glycerin on the collagen fibers, tissue architecture and size of medial meniscuses of New Zealand rabbits. The animals were separated into three groups: (1) Group MF of fresh meniscus, (2) Group MG of meniscus preserved in glycerin for 30 days, and (3) Group MR of meniscus preserved in glycerin for 30 days and rehydrated in NaCl 0.9% for 12 hours. Histological sections were stained with sirius red for identification of collagen types, which were examined with a polarized light microscope. The total collagen concentration and the fiber arrangement were evaluated. Group MF presented higher Type I collagen concentration and lower Type III collagen concentration when compared with Group MG and MR. This fact is due to the water loss and consequent reduction in size and subsequent retraction of the collagen fibers of the meniscus from these groups, caused by dehydration. This may have occurred because those Type I fibers, thicker and in larger quantities, become more evident than Type III collagen fibers, which are more slender and fragile (fibrils). In the three groups studied, the collagen fibers presented themselves in a circumference form, interposed by radially oriented fibers. All of the meniscuses from Group MF presented fibers arranged obliquely, while in the treated groups, a slight disorganization of collagen fibers could be observed in some areas, what corresponds to 42.8% and 14.3% of the meniscuses, respectively. The MG group presented a significant decrease (p<0.05) in size if compared with the MF group. In the MR group, 85.7% of the meniscuses went back to the original size after rehydratation. The 98% glycerin is effective in preserving the meniscus, following rehydratation, maintaining size, structural architecture, integrity and percentage of collagen of the meniscus preserved similar to the fresh one.

Allograft; articular cartilage; meniscus

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