Development and validation of a motion and loading system for a rat knee joint in vivo

Xiang Ian Gu, Daniel J. Leong, Francisco Guzman, Rashal Mahamud, Yong Hui Li, Robert J. Majeska, Mitchell B. Schaffler, Hui Bin Sun, Luis Cardoso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The influence of biomechanical stimuli on modulating cartilage homeostasis is well recognized. However, many aspects of cellular mechanotransduction in cartilage remain unknown. We developed a computer-controlled joint motion and loading system (JMLS) to study the biological response of cartilage under well-characterized mechanical loading environments. The JMLS was capable of controlling (i) angular displacement, (ii) motion frequency, (iii) magnitude of the axial compressive load applied to the moving joint, and it featured real-time monitoring. The accuracy and repeatability of angular position measurements, the kinematic misalignment error as well as the repositioning error of the JMLS were evaluated. The effectiveness of the JMLS in implementing well-defined loading protocols such as moderate Passive Motion Loading (PML) and increased Compressive Motion Loading (CML) were tested. The JMLS demonstrated remarkable accuracy and reliability for the measurement and kinematics tests. Moreover, the effectiveness test demonstrated the ability of the JMLS to produce an effective stimulus via PML that led to the suppression of the catabolic effects of immobilization. Interestingly, the biological response of the CML group was catabolic and exhibited a pattern similar to that observed in the immobilization group. This novel non-invasive system may be useful for joint biomechanics studies that require different treatment conditions of load and motion in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)621-631
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Articular cartilage
  • Compressive motion loading
  • Continuous passive motion
  • Immobilization
  • In vivo
  • Overloading
  • Rat knee joint loading device

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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