Morphometric Analyses of Bone and Cartilage of the Equine Metacarpophalangeal Joint

Martinelli, Mark J (1999) Morphometric Analyses of Bone and Cartilage of the Equine Metacarpophalangeal Joint. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The studies that comprise this dissertation were developed to learn more about the nature of the bone and cartilage of the equine metacarpophalangeal joint. Joint disease is a common problem in the clinical realm of veterinary medicine, especially when dealing exclusively with horses. Although a significant amount of research has been conducted on the equine musculoskeletal system, most of it has dealt specifically with cortical bone or hyaline cartilage. It seems remarkably remiss that little has been done with the structure connecting the two anatomically, the trabecular bone. The results of these diverse studies have shed some light on the articular and subarticular environment. In the first study, a population of horses was sought that would not have evidence of joint disease and could therefore be considered 'normal'. Although this objective was not completely realised, nevertheless a population with an excellent distribution across ages, breeds, genders and weights was the result. In the bone histomorphometry work, classic stereological procedures of point counting (PP) and intersect counting (PL) were employed using a computer. The results of this work indicated that the amount of bone (B.Ar) and the size of its component parts (Tb.Wi) were highly variable within this population. Also, it was determined that the bone seems to respond to some stimulus outside the parameters tested in this study, that is age, breed, gender and weight. The most likely causative factor for the stimulus for increased bone production in this region would be mechanical stress. In the cartilage experiments, several interesting relationships were discovered. The calcified cartilage (CC) was easily identifiable and variable in its thickness. Possibly the most important observation was how this layer seems to respond to growth and maturity. The CC layer in the young horse was much less substantial than that in a mature horse. Also of significance in this study is that the CC/TC ratio varied in relation to the location within the joint and between horses. This finding is contrary to what has been reported in the human literature. The subchondral bone work has provided objective data about this obscure layer. It is often cited as a potential site for disease in the horse, and yet little was known about its normal properties. Although quite variable in its morphometry as well for this population, the SCB thicknesses were documented and will serve as reference values in the horse. Finally, in the fractal study, the equine bone was considered to possess a fractal dimension within the limits of our study, i.e. digitised bone specimens. Although the fractal dimension did not relate specifically to the other bone parameters in this study, fractal geometry still holds promise for determining these relationships between healthy and diseased bone.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: N Wright
Keywords: Veterinary science
Date of Award: 1999
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1999-76455
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2019 14:19
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2019 14:19

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