A Comparative Immunohistochemical and Quantitative Study of the Epiligament of the Medial Collateral and Anterior Cruciate Ligament in Rat Knee

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Alexandar Iliev; Georgi Kotov; Nikola Stamenov; Boycho Landzhov; Vidin Kirkov & Georgi P. Georgiev


The aim of the present study was to evaluate the importance of the epiligament for the difference in the healing potential of the knee anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligament. To do so, we compared the structure of the anterior cruciate and the medial collateral ligament and evaluated the differences in the expression of collagen types I, III and V in a rat knee. We have also conducted a comparative quantitative analysis of the number of cells per mm2 in the two ligaments. Tissue samples were obtained from the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligament of 10 knee joints taken from five 8-month-old Wistar rats. We used standard hematoxylin and eosin staining, in addition to immunohistochemical staining with monoclonal antibodies against collagen types I, III and V. A semi-quantitative analysis of the expression was made through ImageJ, while Student’s T-test was used for the statistical analysis. Our results showed higher expression of all collagen types in the epiligament, compared to the ligament proper and difference in the expression between the medial collateral and the anterior cruciate ligament in favor of the first. We also reported a statistically significant difference in the number of cells per mm2 between the two ligaments and their epiligaments. Our findings show a higher number of cells and a stronger expression of certain collagen types in the epiligament of the medial collateral compared to the anterior cruciate ligament, which may be related to the difference in their healing potential.

How to cite this article

ILIEV, A.; KOTOV, G.; STAMENOV, N.; LANDZHOV, B.; KIRKOV, V. & GEORGIEV, G. P. A comparative immunohistochemical and quantitative study of the epiligament of the medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligament in rat knee. Int. J. Morphol., 39(1):151- 159, 2021.