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Bone & Joint Research
Vol. 11, Issue 9 | Pages 669 - 678
1 Sep 2022
Clement RGE Hall AC Wong SJ Howie SEM Simpson AHRW


Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of septic arthritis, and in vitro studies suggest α haemolysin (Hla) is responsible for chondrocyte death. We used an in vivo murine joint model to compare inoculation with wild type S. aureus 8325-4 with a Hla-deficient strain DU1090 on chondrocyte viability, tissue histology, and joint biomechanics. The aim was to compare the actions of S. aureus Hla alone with those of the animal’s immune response to infection.


Adult male C57Bl/6 mice (n = 75) were randomized into three groups to receive 1.0 to 1.4 × 107 colony-forming units (CFUs)/ml of 8325-4, DU1090, or saline into the right stifle joint. Chondrocyte death was assessed by confocal microscopy. Histological changes to inoculated joints were graded for inflammatory responses along with gait, weight changes, and limb swelling.

Bone & Joint Research
Vol. 7, Issue 7 | Pages 457 - 467
1 Jul 2018
Smith IDM Milto KM Doherty CJ Amyes SGB Simpson AHRW Hall AC


Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is the most commonly implicated organism in septic arthritis, a condition that may be highly destructive to articular cartilage. Previous studies investigating laboratory and clinical strains of S. aureus have demonstrated that potent toxins induced significant chondrocyte death, although the precise toxin or toxins that were involved was unknown. In this study, we used isogenic S. aureus mutants to assess the influence of alpha (Hla)-, beta (Hlb)-, and gamma (Hlg)-haemolysins, toxins considered important for the destruction of host tissue, on in situ bovine chondrocyte viability.


Bovine cartilage explants were cultured with isogenic S. aureus mutants and/or their culture supernatants. Chondrocyte viability was then assessed within defined regions of interest in the axial and coronal plane following live- and dead-cell imaging using the fluorescent probes 5-chloromethylfluorescein diacetate and propidium iodide, respectively, and confocal laser-scanning microscopy.

Bone & Joint Research
Vol. 7, Issue 3 | Pages 205 - 212
1 Mar 2018
Lin Y Hall AC Simpson AHRW


The purpose of this study was to create a novel ex vivo organ culture model for evaluating the effects of static and dynamic load on cartilage.


The metatarsophalangeal joints of 12 fresh cadaveric bovine feet were skinned and dissected aseptically, and cultured for up to four weeks. Dynamic movement was applied using a custom-made machine on six joints, with the others cultured under static conditions. Chondrocyte viability and matrix glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content were evaluated by the cell viability probes, 5-chloromethylfluorescein diacetate (CMFDA) and propidium iodide (PI), and dimethylmethylene blue (DMMB) assay, respectively.

The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 99-B, Issue 12 | Pages 1555 - 1556
1 Dec 2017
Amin AK Simpson AHRW Hall AC

Bone & Joint Research
Vol. 5, Issue 4 | Pages 137 - 144
1 Apr 2016
Paterson SI Eltawil NM Simpson AHRW Amin AK Hall AC


During open orthopaedic surgery, joints may be exposed to air, potentially leading to cartilage drying and chondrocyte death, however, the long-term effects of joint drying in vivo are poorly understood. We used an animal model to investigate the subsequent effects of joint drying on cartilage and chondrocytes.


The patellar groove of anaesthetised rats was exposed (sham-operated), or exposed and then subjected to laminar airflow (0.25m/s; 60 minutes) before wounds were sutured and animals recovered. Animals were monitored for up to eight weeks and then sacrificed. Cartilage and chondrocyte properties were studied by histology and confocal microscopy, respectively.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 93-B, Issue 2 | Pages 277 - 284
1 Feb 2011
Amin AK Huntley JS Patton JT Brenkel IJ Simpson AHRW Hall AC

The aim of this study was to determine whether exposure of human articular cartilage to hyperosmotic saline (0.9%, 600 mOsm) reduces in situ chondrocyte death following a standardised mechanical injury produced by a scalpel cut compared with the same assault and exposure to normal saline (0.9%, 285 mOsm). Human cartilage explants were exposed to normal (control) and hyperosmotic 0.9% saline solutions for five minutes before the mechanical injury to allow in situ chondrocytes to respond to the altered osmotic environment, and incubated for a further 2.5 hours in the same solutions following the mechanical injury.

Using confocal laser scanning microscopy, we identified a sixfold (p = 0.04) decrease in chondrocyte death following mechanical injury in the superficial zone of human articular cartilage exposed to hyperosmotic saline compared with normal saline.

These data suggest that increasing the osmolarity of joint irrigation solutions used during open and arthroscopic articular surgery may reduce chondrocyte death from surgical injury and could promote integrative cartilage repair.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 91-B, Issue 5 | Pages 691 - 699
1 May 2009
Amin AK Huntley JS Simpson AHRW Hall AC

The aim of this study was to determine whether subchondral bone influences in situ chondrocyte survival. Bovine explants were cultured in serum-free media over seven days with subchondral bone excised from articular cartilage (group A), subchondral bone left attached to articular cartilage (group B), and subchondral bone excised but co-cultured with articular cartilage (group C). Using confocal laser scanning microscopy, fluorescent probes and biochemical assays, in situ chondrocyte viability and relevant biophysical parameters (cartilage thickness, cell density, culture medium composition) were quantified over time (2.5 hours vs seven days). There was a significant increase in chondrocyte death over seven days, primarily within the superficial zone, for group A, but not for groups B or C (p < 0.05). There was no significant difference in cartilage thickness or cell density between groups A, B and C (p > 0.05). Increases in the protein content of the culture media for groups B and C, but not for group A, suggested that the release of soluble factors from subchondral bone may have influenced chondrocyte survival. In conclusion, subchondral bone significantly influenced chondrocyte survival in articular cartilage during explant culture.

The extrapolation of bone-cartilage interactions in vitro to the clinical situation must be made with caution, but the findings from these experiments suggest that future investigation into in vivo mechanisms of articular cartilage survival and degradation must consider the interactions of cartilage with subchondral bone.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 90-B, Issue 12 | Pages 1541 - 1547
1 Dec 2008
Bush PG Hall AC Macnicol MF

The mammalian growth plate is a complex structure which is essential for the elongation of long bones. However, an understanding of how the growth plate functions at the cellular level is lacking. This review, summarises the factors involved in growth-plate regulation, its failure and the consequence of injury. We also describe some of the cellular mechanisms which underpin the increase in volume of the growth-plate chondrocyte which is the major determinant of the rate and extent of bone lengthening. We show how living in situ chondrocytes can be imaged using 2-photon laser scanning microscopy to provide a quantitative analysis of their volume. This approach should give better understanding of the cellular control of bone growth in both healthy and failed growth plates.