Biomechanics of meniscus cells: Regional variation and comparison to articular chondrocytes and ligament cells

Johannah Sanchez-Adams, Kyriacos A. Athanasiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Central to understanding mechanotransduction in the knee meniscus is the characterization of meniscus cell mechanics. In addition to biochemical and geometric differences, the inner and outer regions of the meniscus contain cells that are distinct in morphology and phenotype. This study investigated the regional variation in meniscus cell mechanics in comparison with articular chondrocytes and ligament cells. It was found that the meniscus contains two biomechanically distinct cell populations, with outer meniscus cells being stiffer (1.59 ± 0.19 kPa) than inner meniscus cells (1.07 ± 0.14 kPa). Additionally, it was found that both outer and inner meniscus cell stiffnesses were similar to ligament cells (1.32 ± 0.20 kPa), and articular chondrocytes showed the highest stiffness overall (2.51 ± 0.20 kPa). Comparison of compressibility characteristics of the cells showed similarities between articular chondrocytes and inner meniscus cells, as well as between outer meniscus cells and ligament cells. These results show that cellular biomechanics vary regionally in the knee meniscus and that meniscus cells are biomechanically similar to ligament cells. The mechanical properties of musculoskeletal cells determined in this study may be useful for the development of mathematical models or the design of experiments studying mechanotransduction in a variety of soft tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1047-1056
Number of pages10
JournalBiomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Cartilage
  • Cytocompression
  • Mechanics
  • Meniscus
  • Musculoskeletal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation


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