Sex-Specific Associations between Cartilage Structure and Metabolism at Rest and Acutely Following Walking and Drop-Landing
UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science
Biochemical Phenomena, Metabolism, and Nutrition | Musculoskeletal System | Orthopedics | Translational Medical Research
OBJECTIVE: Cartilage health is thought to be dependent on the relationship between mechanics, structure, and metabolism, rather than these individual components in isolation. Due to sex differences in cartilage health, there is need to determine if the relationships between these cartilage components separately for males and females. Therefore, we sought to determine the sex-specific associations between cartilage structure and metabolism at rest and their acute response following walking and drop-landing in healthy individuals.
DESIGN: A cartilage ultrasound assessment and an ante-cubital blood draw were performed before and after walking and drop-landing conditions in 20 males and 20 females. Cartilage structure was assessed via medial and lateral femoral cartilage cross-sectional area. Cartilage metabolism was quantified with serum cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) concentration. Percent change scores from pre- to postloading were used to calculate acute alterations in cross-sectional area and COMP. Correlational analyses were used to assess the association between cartilage structure and metabolism measures separately for males and females.
RESULTS: In females, greater resting COMP concentration was associated with less cartilage cross-sectional area in the medial(rho = -0.50, P = 0.03) and lateral (rho = -0.69, P = 0.001) femur. Resting cartilage measures were not associated among males. Following walking and drop-landing, percent change scores in cartilage structure and metabolism were not associated.
CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights that, in females, thinner anterior femoral cartilage is associated with greater resting serum COMP concentrations, a biomarker often linked to cartilage breakdown. Future studies into the relationships between various cartilage components should consider sex-specific analyses as these relationships are sex dependent.
UMCCTS funding, cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP), knee, loading, ultrasonography, ultrasound
DOI of Published Version
Harkey MS, Blackburn JT, Hackney AC, Lewek MD, Schmitz RJ, Pietrosimone B. Sex-Specific Associations between Cartilage Structure and Metabolism at Rest and Acutely Following Walking and Drop-Landing. Cartilage. 2021 Dec;13(1_suppl):1772S-1781S. doi: 10.1177/1947603520959386. Epub 2020 Sep 19. PMID: 32954820; PMCID: PMC8808927. Link to article on publisher's site
Harkey MS, Blackburn JT, Hackney AC, Lewek MD, Schmitz RJ, Pietrosimone B. (2021). Sex-Specific Associations between Cartilage Structure and Metabolism at Rest and Acutely Following Walking and Drop-Landing. UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science Supported Publications. https://doi.org/10.1177/1947603520959386. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/umccts_pubs/278