6th World Congress of Biomechanics (WCB 2010). August 1-6, 2010 Singapore

Volume 31 of the series IFMBE Proceedings pp 895-898

Morphological Analysis of Articular Cartilage Using Multiphoton Microscopy as Input for Constitutive Modeling: Experiment and Mathematical Implementation

  • D. M. PierceAffiliated withInstitute of Biomechanics, Graz University of Technology
  • , M. B. LilledahlAffiliated withDepartment of Physics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • , T. RickenAffiliated withInstitute of Mechanics, University of Duisburg-Essen
  • , C. de Lange DaviesAffiliated withDepartment of Physics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • , G. A. HolzapfelAffiliated withInstitute of Biomechanics, Graz University of TechnologyDepartment of Solid Mechanics, Royal Institute of Technology

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The 3D structure of collagen fibers in chicken cartilage was quantified using multiphoton microscopy. Samples of fresh chicken cartilage were sectioned in three orthogonal planes using a vibratome. The sections were imaged using multiphoton microscopy, specifically imaging the collagen fibers using the second harmonic signal. Employing image analysis techniques based on Fourier analysis, the primary direction and anisotropy of the collagen fibers were extracted for the superficial layer resulting in a 3D map of the collagen fiber fabric. In the middle layer, image analysis using objective thresholding techniques was employed to extract the volume fraction occupied by extracellular matrix, the rest being occupied by the lacunae and residing chondrocytes.

To implement these imaging data in a computational setting, we propose a new, 3D large strain constitutive model for articular cartilage, focused on the essential load-bearing morphology: an inhomogeneous, visco-poroelastic solid matrix reinforced by an anisotropic, viscoelastic dispersed fiber fabric which is saturated by an incompressible fluid residing in strain-dependent pores of the collagen-proteoglycan solid matrix.

High-fidelity models, combining advanced imaging and computational biomechanics, will allow us to consider complex problems in structure-function relationships and provide insight to microphysical (mechanobiological) cellular stimuli.


Articular cartilage Multiphoton microscopy imaging Constitutive modeling Finite element simulation