Chondrocyte viability after a simulated blast exposure

K. Aaron Shaw, Peter C. Johnson, David Williams, Steven D. Zumbrun, Richard L Topolski, Craig D. Cameron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The effects of blast exposure have gained increasing interest in the military medical community with their continued occurrence on the battlefield. The impact of the direct and indirect energy imparted from blasts to hollow viscera, as well as closed head injuries, have been well studied. However, the injury to articular cartilage has not been investigated, despite previous correlations regarding the development of osteoarthritis. The purpose of this study was to assess the degree of injury to articular chondrocytes after exposure to a simulated blast overpressure wave. Methods: Fresh juvenile porcine stifle joints were subjected to a simulated blast overpressure wave utilizing a custom fabricated blast simulator with compressed gases, within the reported range of observed battlefield blasts. Chondrocyte viability was assessed with live/dead staining using ethidium homodimer-2 and calcien acetoxymethyl-ester stain and confocal laser scanning microscopy, calculated as a ratio of dead chondrocytes to live chondrocytes. Testing was performed at time points of 2, 4, and 8 hours after blast exposure and was compared with unblasted control samples. Results: Chondrocyte viability decreased after exposure to a blast overpressure wave when compared with control samples. The amount of death was greater closer to the articular surface and dissipated with increasing tissue depth. Chondrocyte death increased with time after exposure. Conclusions: Chondrocyte death is present after exposure to a simulated blast wave. There is an inverse relationship between chondrocyte viability and the depth from the articular surface. Additional studies are needed to further characterize dose and time effects of blast exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1941-e1947
JournalMilitary medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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