Non-invasive Electroarthrography Measures Load-Induced Cartilage Streaming Potentials via Electrodes Placed on Skin Surrounding an Articular Joint.Cartilage. 2020 Jun 05 [Online ahead of print]C
We aimed to demonstrate that electroarthrography (EAG) measures streaming potentials originating in the cartilage extracellular matrix during load bearing through electrodes adhered to skin surrounding an articular joint.
Equine metacarpophalangeal joints were subjected to simulated physiological loads while (1) replacing synovial fluid with immersion buffers of different electrolyte concentrations and (2) directly degrading cartilage with trypsin.
An inverse relationship between ionic strength and EAG coefficient was detected. Compared to native synovial fluid, EAG coefficients increased (P < 0.05) for 5 of 6 electrodes immersed in 0.1X phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) (0.014 M NaCl), decreased (P < 0.05) for 4 of 6 electrodes in 1X PBS (0.14 M NaCl), and decreased (P < 0.05) for all 6 electrodes in 10X PBS (1.4 M NaCl). This relationship corresponds to similar studies where streaming potentials were directly measured on cartilage. EAG coefficients, obtained after trypsin degradation, were reduced (P < 0.05) in 6 of 8, and 7 of 8 electrodes, during simulated standing and walking, respectively. Trypsin degradation was confirmed by direct cartilage assessments. Streaming potentials, measured by directly contacting cartilage, indicated lower cartilage stiffness (P < 10-5). Unconfined compression data revealed reduced Em, representing proteoglycan matrix stiffness (P = 0.005), no change in Ef, representing collagen network stiffness (P = 0.15), and no change in permeability (P = 0.24). Trypsin depleted proteoglycan as observed by both dimethylmethylene blue assay (P = 0.0005) and safranin-O stained histological sections.
These data show that non-invasive EAG detects streaming potentials produced by cartilage during joint compression and has potential to become a diagnostic tool capable of detecting early cartilage degeneration.