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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 452767, 11 pages
Research Article

Evaluation on Cartilage Morphology after Intra-Articular Injection of Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles in Rats

1Key Laboratory for Biomechanics and Mechanobiology of the Ministry of Education, School of Biological Science and Medical Engineering, Beihang University, Beijing 100191, China
2Department of Orthopedics, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Beijing 100730, China

Received 16 November 2011; Accepted 5 January 2012

Academic Editor: Xiaoming Li

Copyright © 2012 Jiangxue Wang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Nanoscale wear particles would generate from orthopedic implants with nanoscale surface topography because of residual stress. In this study, the effect of TiO2 nanoparticles on articular cartilage was investigated by intra-articular injection in rats. Using contrast-enhanced high-resolution microcomputed tomography (micro-CT) technology, the decreased thickness of articular cartilage in distal femur was determined at 1, 7, 14, and 30 days after nanoparticle exposure. A strong linear correlation (r=0.928, P<0.0001) was observed with the results obtained by needle probe testing. After exposure to TiO2 nanoparticles, cartilage thickness showed time-dependent decrease, and cartilage volume was decreased too. Further, the histopathological examination showed the edema chondrocyte and shrinked nucleus in the radial and calcified zone of cartilage. The ultrastructure of articular cartilage implied that the chondrocyte was degenerated, expressing as the condensed chromatin, the dilated endoplasmic reticulum, and the rich mitochondria. Even, the fragments of ruptured endoplasmic reticulum were observed in the cytoplasm of chondrocytes at postexposure day 30. Results indicate that potential damage of articular cartilage was induced by particles existed in knee joint and imply that the biomonitoring should be strengthened in patients with prostheses replacement.