Objective - To compare expression of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) and cathepsin K and histologic changes in canine cranial cruciate ligaments (CCLs) and human anterior cruciate ligaments (ACLs). Study population - Sections of cruciate ligaments from 15 dogs with ruptured CCLs, 8 aged dogs with intact CCLs, 14 human beings with ruptured ACLs, and 11 aged human beings with intact ACLs. Procedure - The CCLs and ACLs were evaluated histologically, and cells containing TRAP and cathepsin K were identified histochemically and immunohistochemically, respectively. Results - The proportion of ruptured CCLs that contained TRAP+ cells was significantly higher than the proportion of intact ACLs that did but similar to proportions of intact CCLs and ruptured ACLs that did. The proportion of ruptured CCLs that contained cathepsin K+ cells was significantly increased, compared with all other groups. Numbers of TRAP+ and cathepsin K+ cells were significantly increased in ruptured CCLs, compared with intact ACLs. The presence of TRAP+ cells was correlated with inflammatory changes, which were most prominent in ruptured CCLs. Conclusion and clinical relevance - Results suggest that synovial macrophage-like cells that produce TRAP are an important feature of the inflammation associated with CCL rupture in dogs. Identification of TRAP and cathepsin K in intact CCLs and ACLs from aged dogs suggests that these enzymes have a functional role in cruciate ligament remodeling and repair. We hypothesize that recruitment and activation of TRAP+ macrophage-like cells into the stifle joint synovium and CCL epiligament are critical features of the inflammatory arthritis that promotes progressive degradation and eventual rupture of the CCL in dogs.
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