Mechanically deformed morphologic cartilage grafts undergo temperature-dependent stress relaxation during sustained laser irradiation resulting in stable shape changes. In this study, porcine nasal septal cartilage specimens were evaluated for viability by measuring the incorporation of Na235SO4 into proteoglycan (PTG) macromolecules in whole tissue culture following laser-mediated reshaping. Synthesis rates of PTG were determined by scintillation counting lyophilized specimens and normalizing these values by total protein content. Positive controls were established by inducing chondrocyte apoptosis using prolonged exposure to nitric oxide (NO). In chondrocytes, apoptosis induced using NO resulted in significantly lower PTG synthesis rates compared to untreated native specimens. Cartilage specimens were irradiated with light emitted from a Nd:YAG laser (25 W/cm2, λ = 1.32 μm) while recording simultaneously radiometric surface temperature, internal stress and back-scattered light intensity from a probe laser. Each specimen received one, two or three sequential laser exposures. The duration of each exposure was determined from real-time measurements of characteristic changes in back-scattered light intensity that correlate with accelerated stress relaxation. A 5 min time interval between each laser exposures allowed the cartilage specimen to return to thermal equilibrium. Average PTG synthesis rates decreased with successive laser exposures, though these were always higher than baseline rates established for NO-treated tissues, suggesting that laser-mediated cartilage reshaping acutely does not eliminate the entire population of viable chondrocytes. The reduction in PTG synthesis is correlated with the time–temperature-dependent heating profile created during laser irradiation, supporting our hypothesis that careful monitoring of laser dosimetry is required to ensure chondrocyte viability.
Photochemistry and Photobiology
Vol. 71 • No. 2
Vol. 71 • No. 2