Chondroprotective effects of pulsed shortwave therapy in rabbits with experimental osteoarthritis

Vol. 58 No. 2, 2017


Rodica-Ana Ungur, Adrian Florea, Alexandru-Flaviu Tabaran, Iuliu-Calin Scurtu, Ioan Onac, Ileana Monica Borda, Laszlo Irsay, Viorela Mihaela Ciortea, Eleonora Dronca, Mihnea Tudor Zdrenghea, Soimita Mihaela Suciu

Introduction: Osteoarthritis (OA) represents a public health challenge since the pathogenic treatment, able to induce cartilage regeneration, still remains unknown. Ageing of the population and increasing OA prevalence have led to a lot of research, aiming to identify treatments acting on chondrocytes that play a determinant role in cartilage degeneration/regeneration balance. Pulsed shortwave therapy (with the classical application form - Diapulse) is a physiotherapy method with anabolic effects demonstrated on nervous, conjunctive and vascular tissues, but its effects on OA cartilage are not known. Aim: Our aim was to demonstrate the effects of Diapulse on the cartilage in experimental induced OA. Materials and Methods: Experimental OA was induced in 10 mature female rabbits by anterior cruciate ligament transection (ACLT). Ten weeks after ACLT, rabbits were randomized in a treatment group and a control group. Treatment group was exposed to Diapulse at a frequency of 27.12 MHz, pulse length of 65 micro-s, pulse frequency of 300 pulses/s (300 Hz) for 10 minutes/day. Control group was exposed to sham therapy. After treatment, rabbits were sacrificed and the cartilage was evaluated by histopathological examinations with Hematoxylin-Eosin (HE) staining and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Results: OA characteristic changes were found in both groups. In the treatment group, we found that Diapulse influenced the degenerative process in the OA cartilage by improving the chondrocyte viability and the capacity to maintain cellular matrix integrity and structure. Conclusions: Diapulse can be considered a disease modifying therapeutic procedure and could be a reliable option for treatment of OA patients.

Corresponding author: Ioan Onac, Associate Professor, MD, PhD; e-mail:

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