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Research article2018Peer reviewedOpen access

Juvenile osteochondritis dissecans of the knee is a result of failure of the blood supply to growth cartilage and osteochondrosis

Olstad, K.; Shea, K.G.; Cannamela, P.C.; Polousky, J.D.; Ekman, S.; Ytrehus, B.; Carlson, C.S.


Objective: Juvenile osteochondritis dissecans (JOCD) is similar to osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD) in animals, which is the result of failure of the cartilage canal blood supply, ischemic chondronecrosis and delayed ossification, or osteochondrosis. The aim of the current study was to determine if osteochondrosis lesions occur at predilection sites for JOCD in children. Method: Computed tomographic (CT) scans of 23 knees (13 right, 10 left) from 13 children (9 male, 4 female; 1 month to 11 years old) were evaluated for lesions consisting of focal, sharply demarcated, uniformly hypodense defects in the ossification front. Histological validation was performed in 11 lesions from eight femurs. Results: Thirty-two lesions consisting of focal, uniformly hypodense defects in the ossification front were identified in the CT scans of 14 human femurs (7 left, 7 right; male, 7–11 years old). Defects corresponded to areas of ischemic chondronecrosis in sections from all 11 histologically validated lesions. Intra-cartilaginous secondary responses comprising proliferation of adjacent chondrocytes and vessels were detected in six and two lesions, whereas intra-osseous responses including accumulation of chondroclasts and formation of granulation tissue occurred in 10 and six lesions, respectively. One CT cyst-like lesion contained both a pseudocyst and a true cyst in histological sections. Conclusion: Changes identical to osteochondrosis in animals were detected at predilection sites for JOCD in children, and confirmed to represent failure of the cartilage canal blood supply and ischemic chondronecrosis in histological sections.


Cartilage canal blood supply; Computed tomography; Histology; Ischemic chondronecrosis; Juvenile osteochondritis dissecans; Osteochondrosis

Published in

Osteoarthritis and Cartilage
2018, Volume: 26, number: 12, pages: 1691-1698
Publisher: W.B. Saunders Ltd

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    Clinical Science

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