Electrical conductivity and ion diffusion in porcine meniscus: effects of strain, anisotropy, and tissue region

Kelsey L. Kleinhans, Jeffrey B. McMahan, Alicia R. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of mechanical strain, anisotropy, and tissue region on electrical conductivity and ion diffusivity in meniscus fibrocartilage. A one-dimensional, 4-wire conductivity experiment was employed to measure the electrical conductivity in porcine meniscus tissues from two tissue regions (horn and central), for two tissue orientations (axial and circumferential), and for three levels of compressive strain (0%, 10%, and 20%). Conductivity values were then used to estimate the relative ion diffusivity in meniscus. The water volume fraction of tissue specimens was determined using a buoyancy method. A total of 135 meniscus samples were measured; electrical conductivity values ranged from 2.47 mS/cm to 4.84 mS/cm, while relative ion diffusivity was in the range of 0.235 to 0.409. Results show that electrical conductivity and ion diffusion are significantly anisotropic (p<0.001), both being higher in the circumferential direction than in the axial direction. Additionally, the findings show that compression significantly affects the electrical conductivity with decreasing conductivity levels corresponding to increased compressive strain (p<0.001). Furthermore, there was no statistically significant effect of tissue region when comparing axial conductivity in the central and horn regions of the tissue (p=0.999). There was a positive correlation between tissue water volume fraction and both electrical conductivity and relative ion diffusivity for all groups investigated. This study provides important insight into the electromechanical and transport properties in meniscus fibrocartilage, which is essential in developing new strategies to treat and/or prevent tissue degeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3041-3046
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number13
StatePublished - Sep 6 2016


  • Compression
  • Conductivity
  • Diffusivity
  • Electromechanical
  • Meniscus fibrocartilage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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