Effects of doxycycline on articular cartilage GAG release and mechanical properties following impact

Todd J. Blumberg, Roman M. Natoli, Kyriacos A. Athanasiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The effects of doxycycline were examined on articular cartilage glycosaminoglycan (GAG) release and biphasic mechanical properties following two levels of impact loading at 1 and 2 weeks post-injury. Further, treatment for two continuous weeks was compared to treatment for only the 1st week of a 2-week culture period. Following impact at two levels, articular cartilage expiants were cultured for 1 or 2 weeks with 0, 50, or 100 μM doxycycline. Histology, GAG release to the media, and creep indentation biomechanical properties were examined. The "High" (2.8 J) impact level had gross surface damage, whereas "Low" (1.1 J) impact was indiscernible from non-impacted controls. GAG staining decreased after High impact, but doxycycline did not visibly affect staining. High impact resulted in decreased aggregate moduli at both 1 and 2 weeks and increased permeability at 2 weeks, but tissue mechanical properties were not affected by doxycycline treatment. At 1 week, High impact resulted in more GAG release compared to non-impacted controls. However, following High impact, 100 μM doxycycline reduced cumulative GAG release at 1 and 2 weeks by 30% and 38%, respectively, compared to no treatment. Interestingly, there was no difference in GAG release comparing 2 weeks continuous treatment with 1 week on, 1 week off. These results support the hypothesis that doxycycline can mitigate GAG release from articular cartilage following impact loads. However, doxycycline was unable to prevent the loss of tissue stiffness observed post-impact, presumably due to initial matrix damage resulting solely from mechanical trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)506-515
Number of pages10
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 15 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Articular cartilage
  • Biomechanics
  • Doxycycline
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Post-traumatic osteoarthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Microbiology


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