Following the principles of “morphology reveals biomechanics”, the anatomical structure of the cartilage-osseous
interface and the supporting trabecular network show defined adaptation in their architectural properties to physiological
loading. In case of a faulty relationship, the ability to support the load diminishes and the onset of osteoarthritis (OA)
may arise and disturb the balanced formation and resorption processes. To describe and quantify the changes occurring,
10 human OA patellae were analysed concerning the architectural parameters of the trabecular network within the first
five mms by the evaluation of 3Dmicro-CT datasets.
The analysed OA-samples showed a strong irregularity for all trabecular parameters across the trabecular network, no
regularity in parameter distribution was found. In general, we saw a decrease of material in the OA population as
BV/TV, BS/TV, Tb.N and Tb.Th were decreased and the spacing increased. The development into depth showed a
logarithmic dependency, which revealed the greatest difference for all parameters within the first mm in comparison to
the physiologic samples. The differences decreased towards the 5th mm. The interpretation of the mathematic
dependency leads to the conclusion that the main impact of OA is beneath the subchondral bone plate (SBP) and lessens
with depth. Next to the clear difference in material, the architectural arrangement is more rod-like and isotropic just
beneath the SBP in comparison to the plate-like and more anisotropic physiological arrangement.