Discrimination between healthy and degenerated bovine articular cartilage with a fiber Bragg grating based microindenter

G. Marchi, P. Foehr, V. Baier, R. W. Kinne, R. Burgkart, J. Roths

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: In this study we aim to show that an optical fiber Bragg grating-based microindentation system, which has the potential to be deployed arthroscopically, can differentiate between healthy and degenerated articular cartilage, which represents an important challenge in minimally-invasive surgery. Design: Twenty bovine osteochondral cylinders, extracted from the patellar groove of ten 24 months old animals were subjected to stepwise in vitro stress-relaxation indentation measurements. The indentation procedure comprised 15 indentation steps of 20 μm each, reaching a total depth of 300 μm. Ten samples remained untreated and served as a control group for healthy cartilage. A second group of ten samples was treated for 12 h with an aqueous trypsin solution (concentration 2.5%) to deplete the proteoglycans. For both groups and all indentation depths deeper than 100 μm, the step response functions of a two elements Maxwell-Wiechert model fitted well to the measured relaxation curves. Results: The standard deviations of the identified stiffness parameters within each group were much smaller than the difference of the average stiffness values between both groups. Based on the measured stiffness values, the system was capable to discriminate between healthy and degenerated cartilage with a high level of significance (p < 0.001). The experimental results are also discussed in terms of the biomechanical changes of cartilage under the action of trypsin. Conclusion: The fiber Bragg grating microindentation system showed the capability to differentiate intact and proteoglycan depleted cartilage with high significance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-17
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
StatePublished - Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Articular cartilage damage
  • Fiber Bragg grating
  • Indentation
  • Stress-relaxation


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