The effects of ketorolac and morphine on articular cartilage and synovium in the rabbit knee joint

Nazim Dogan, Ali Fuat Erdem, Cemal Gundogdu, Husnu Kursad, Mehmet Kizilkaya
Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology 2004, 82 (7): 502-5
Analgesics are commonly injected intra-articularly for analgesia after arthroscopic surgery, especially of knee joints. The aim of this study was to research the effects of ketorolac and morphine on articular cartilage and synovial membrane. This study used rabbit right and left hind knee joints. The treatments, saline, morphine, or ketorolac, were administered intra-articularly 24 h after injection, and 5 joints from animals in each drug group were chosen randomly to form Group I and subgroups of Group I. The same procedures were applied after 48 h and 10 days of injection to form Groups II and III, respectively, and subgroups of these groups. Knee joints were excised and a blinded observer evaluated the histopathology according to inflammation of the articular cartilage, inflammatory cell infiltration, hypertrophy, and hyperplasia of the synovial membrane. No histopathological changes were found in the control groups. In the ketorolac and morphine groups, there were varying degrees of synovial membrane inflammatory cell infiltration and minimal, mild, or moderate synovial membrane cell hyperplasia or hypertrophy. Except for the ketorolac group at 24 h, both ketorolac and morphine groups showed more histopathological changes than controls (p < 0.05). Morphine and ketorolac both cause mild histopathological changes in rabbit knee joints, morphine causing more than ketorolac, but both of the drugs can be used intra-articularly with safety.

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