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Table 2 Advantages and disadvantages of various in vivo models commonly used in the assessment of biomaterial strategies for cartilage defect repair

From: The benefits and limitations of animal models for translational research in cartilage repair

Species Advantage Disadvantage
Mouse Low cost, manageable easily available
Transgenic and athymic strains available
Can be used in subcutaneous and intramuscular model for degradation rate and safety profile
Very small joints–in situ examination impossible
Rat Low cost, easily available
Athymic strains available
Maintain in-house
Permanently open growth plates accelerating intrinsic healing
Increased density of cells in cartilage causing more efficient healing
Partial thickness defects impossible
Rabbit Low cost
Maintain in-house
Increased intrinsic healing due to increased cell density
Very different load characteristics
Consistent partial thickness defects very difficult to achieve
Dog Naturally occurring disease state
Co-operate with rehabilitation regime
Thin cartilage
Small critical size defect (4 mm)
Complex ethical approval process
Pig Biochemistry similar to humans
Bone apposition rate and trabecular thickness similar to human
Partial thickness defects possible
Expensive
Difficult to obtain at skeletal maturity
Specialised habitat
Temperament
Goat Anatomy and biomechanics similar to humans
Partial thickness defects possible
Easily available
Low maintenance
Subchondral cyst formation
Sheep Anatomy similar to humans
Partial thickness defects possible
Easily available
Low maintenance
Subchondral cyst formation
Horse Large defects similar to humans
Partial thickness large diameter defects possible
Naturally occurring defects
Similar biomechanics in trochlear groove
Second look arthroscopy possible
Expensive to acquire and maintain – specialised centre required
Cannot avoid weight bearing on the joint during rehab phase if required
Very dense subchondral bone
MRI/CT impossible due to size