Until recently, the cartilage canals of the epiphyseal growth cartilage have not been associated with any specific disease. However, data support the hypothesis that osteochondrosis could be related to inadequate blood supply from vessels in these channels. We have done a study to investigate the relationship between the regression of cartilage canals and the formation of osteochondrosis latens in the epiphyseal growth cartilage of the distal femur in pigs, and the relationship between these events and age, growth rate, weight and femoral shape of the individual animals. This involved, in part, a comprehensive study of the distribution and pattern of regression of the cartilage canals. We found that the regression is a highly predictable process that follows an age-dependent pattern. However, we failed to prove any association between overall vascular regression and osteochondrosis, between vascular regression and weight, growth rate or femoral shape or between osteochondrosis and weight, growth rate or femoral shape. This may indicate that osteochondrosis latens is not caused by a general failure of vascular supply or general factors such as growth rate, but rather a consequence of local conditions affecting a limited number of vessels. A factor fitting this description is local compression.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the Research Council of Norway. Additional support was given by grants from the Norwegian Pig Health Service. The authors are grateful to Rolf Hautau and Tore Engen for their excellent technical assistance and to Trygve Grøndalen and Bjørn Lium for valuable discussions.
- Cartilage canals
- Growth cartilage
- Vascular regression