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Cartilage canals in equine articular/epiphyseal growth cartilage and a possible association with dyschondroplasia

Lookup NU author(s): Dr William Shingleton, Emeritus Professor Tim Cawston


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Cartilage canals have been described in most mammals and contain the vascular elements necessary for the maintenance of epiphyseal growth cartilage. The presence and longevity of cartilage canals in developing articular/epiphyseal cartilage of horses is described for the first time. Growth cartilages from 30 normal horses (from 130 days gestation to age 2 years) and 6 cases of dyschondroplasia (age <15 months) were examined. Cartilage canals were located in the epiphyses of fetuses as early as 130 days gestation. The secondary centres of ossification had developed by 250 days gestation and, at full term (∼340 days), the articular/epiphyseal cartilage was highly vascularised. Cartilage canals were closely surrounded by small round chondrocytes even when present in the zone of hypertrophic chondrocytes. From late gestation until at least age 10 weeks, blood vessels surrounded by cartilage were found extending beyond the zone of hypertrophic chondrocytes into the secondary centre of ossification. Cartilage canals were absent from normal articular/epiphyseal cartilage of animals age >6 months. Cartilage canals were associated with retained cartilage of dyschondroplastic lesions found in animals age <15 months. The presence of cartilage canals in association with dyschondroplastic lesions suggests they may have a role in the pathogenesis of this important disease.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Shingleton WD, Mackie EJ, Cawston TE, Jeffcott LB

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Equine Veterinary Journal

Year: 1997

Volume: 29

Issue: 5

Pages: 360-364

ISSN (print): 0425-1644

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: Equine Veterinary Journal Ltd.

PubMed id: 9306061