As radiation science and technology advances, nuclear medicine applications are increasing worldwide which necessitate the understanding of biological implications of such practices. Ionizing radiation has been shown to cause degraded matrix and reduced proteoglycan synthesis in cartilage, and the late consequences of which may include degenerative arthritis or arthropathy. Although degenerative effects of the ionizing radiation on cartilage tissue have been demonstrated, the effects on the mechanical properties of articular cartilage are largely unknown. The radiopharmaceuticals, technetium-99m and technetium-99m sestamibi, were utilized on bovine articular cartilage to investigate these effects. We used two different mechanical tests to determine the mechanical properties of articular cartilage. Dynamic and static mechanical tests were applied to calculate compressive modulus for articular cartilage. We observed clearly higher control modulus values than that of experimental groups which account for lesser stiffness in the exposed cartilage. In conclusion, compressive moduli of bovine articular cartilage were found to decrease after radiopharmaceutical exposure, after both instantaneous and equilibrium mechanical experiments.
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