The purpose of this study was to examine the hypoxic and inflammatory conditions after immobilization in the joint capsule of rat knees. The unilateral knee joints of adult male rats were immobilized with an internal fixator (Im group) for 1 day, 3 days, and 1, 2, 4, 8, and 16 weeks. Sham-operated animals had holes drilled in the femur and tibia and screws inserted without a plate (control group). The number of cells and blood vessels in the capsule were histologically examined. The hypoxic condition in the capsule was histologically examined with a Hypoxyprobe™-1. The gene expressions related to the hypoxic (hypoxia inducible factor-1α, vascular endothelial growth factor, and fibroblast growth factor 2) and inflammatory conditions [interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-1α, IL-1β, tumor necrosis factor-α, and tumor necrosis factor-β] were evaluated by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. The number of cells was unchanged at 1 day in the two groups; however, the number significantly increased at 3 days in the Im group. The number of blood vessels in the Im group gradually decreased. Strong immunostaining of Hypoxyprobe™-1 around the blood vessels was observed in the Im group. The gene expressions of hypoxia inducible factor-1α and fibroblast growth factor 2 were significantly higher in the Im group compared with those in the control group. The gene expressions of IL-6, IL-1α, IL-1β, and tumor necrosis factor-β were significantly higher in the Im group compared with those in the control group. These data indicated that joint immobilization induced hypoxic and inflammatory conditions in the joint capsule, which might be an initiating factor for joint contracture.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology