Online first
Original article
Published online: 2023-06-05

open access

Page views 437
Article views/downloads 299
Get Citation

Connect on Social Media

Connect on Social Media

Morphological study of the arterial supply to the menisci in pigs with special reference to creating meniscus injury model

Yutaro Natsuyama12, Mingshou Zhang1, Ting Yang1, Kazuyuki Shimada1, Ke Ren3, Yasuko Kamikawa4, Juefei Chen1, Shuang-Qin Yi1


Background: Some reports have used pigs to establish models of meniscus injury. However, accurate information on the origin, course, and access of the arteries supplying the menisci remains unclear. This information is important to avoid damaging vital arteries when creating the meniscus injury model.

Materials and methods: In this study, fetal and adult pigs were employed to investigate the arterial supply of the menisci in pigs using gross anatomical and histological methods.

Results: Macro-anatomically, the anterior horn, body, and posterior horn of the medial meniscus were found to be supplied by the medial superior genicular artery, medial inferior genicular artery, and posterior middle genicular artery. The anterior and posterior horns of the lateral meniscus were supplied by the cranial tibial recurrent artery and the middle genicular artery, respectively. Anastomosis was observed in some cases, but appeared to be infrequent and too thin to expect the anastomotic branches to provide adequate blood flow. The histological examination showed that the arteries entered the meniscus along the tie-fiber. The access process of the artery was the same irrespective of whether it was in fetal or mature pigs, the medial or lateral meniscus, or the anterior horn or body or posterior horn. The medial inferior genicular artery ran along the medial meniscus in the circumferential direction. Therefore, the clinical longitudinal incision should take into account the characteristics of the vessel course in order to protect the blood vessels from damage.

Conclusions: Based on the results of this study, the protocol for creating a pig meniscus injury model should be reconsidered.

Article available in PDF format

View PDF Download PDF file


  1. Andrews SHJ, Rattner JB, Abusara Z, et al. Tie-fibre structure and organization in the knee menisci. J Anat. 2014; 224(5): 531–537.
  2. Arnoczky SP, Warren RF. Microvasculature of the human meniscus. Am J Sports Med. 1982; 10(2): 90–95.
  3. Aspden RM, Yarker YE, Hukins DW. Collagen orientations in the meniscus of the knee joint. J Anat. 1985; 140(pt 3): 371–380.
  4. Brindle T, Nyland J, Johnson DL. The meniscus: review of basic principles with application to surgery and rehabilitation. J Athl Train. 2001; 36(2): 160–169.
  5. Canciani B, Herrera Millar VR, Pallaoro M, et al. Testing hypoxia in pig meniscal culture: biological role of the vascular-related factors in the differentiation and viability of neonatal meniscus. Int J Mol Sci. 2021; 22(22).
  6. Christensen BB, Christensen BB, Foldager CB, et al. Autologous dual-tissue transplantation for osteochondral repair: early clinical and radiological results. Cartilage. 2015; 6(3): 166–173.
  7. Cone SG, Warren PB, Fisher MB. Rise of the pigs: utilization of the porcine model to study musculoskeletal biomechanics and tissue engineering during skeletal growth. Tissue Eng Part C Methods. 2017; 23(11): 763–780.
  8. Dai Y, Yi K, Shimada K, et al. Anatomy of the coronary arteries in fetal pigs: comparison with human anatomy. Anat Sci Int. 2020; 95(2): 265–276.
  9. Danzig L, Resnick D, Gonsalves M, et al. Blood supply to the normal and abnormal menisci of the human knee. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1983; 172: 271–276.
  10. Deponti D, Di Giancamillo A, Scotti C, et al. Animal models for meniscus repair and regeneration. J Tissue Eng Regen Med. 2015; 9(5): 512–527.
  11. Drake RD, Vogl AW, Mitchell AWM, Tibbitts R, Richardson P. Gray’s Atlas of Anatomy (2nd ed.). Elsevier, Amsterdam 2014: 327.
  12. Dutton AQ, Choong PF, Goh JCH, et al. Enhancement of meniscal repair in the avascular zone using mesenchymal stem cells in a porcine model. J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2010; 92(1): 169–175.
  13. Ghadially FN, Wedge JH, Lalonde JM. Experimental methods of repairing injured menisci. J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1986; 68(1): 106–110.
  14. Gee SM, Posner M. Meniscus Anatomy and Basic Science. Sports Med Arthrosc Rev. 2021; 29(3): e18–e23.
  15. Góes AM, Chaves RH, Furlaneto IP, et al. Comparative angiotomographic study of swine vascular anatomy: contributions to research and training models in vascular and endovascular surgery. J Vasc Bras. 2021; 20: e20200086.
  16. Hatsushika D, Muneta T, Nakamura T, et al. Repetitive allogeneic intraarticular injections of synovial mesenchymal stem cells promote meniscus regeneration in a porcine massive meniscus defect model. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2014; 22(7): 941–950.
  17. Ikeuchi K, Sakoda H, Sakaue R, et al. A new method for accurate measurement of displacement of the knee menisci. Proc Inst Mech Eng H. 1998; 212(3): 183–188.
  18. Köpf-Maier P. Wolf-Heidegger’s Atlas of Human Anatomy 1 (6th ed.). Karger, Basel 2005: 266.
  19. Lazaro LE, Cross MB, Lorich DG. Vascular anatomy of the patella: implications for total knee arthroplasty surgical approaches. Knee. 2014; 21(3): 655–660.
  20. Moriguchi Yu, Tateishi K, Ando W, et al. Repair of meniscal lesions using a scaffold-free tissue-engineered construct derived from allogenic synovial MSCs in a miniature swine model. Biomaterials. 2013; 34(9): 2185–2193.
  21. Nakano T, Dodd CM, Scott PG. Glycosaminoglycans and proteoglycans from different zones of the porcine knee meniscus. J Orthop Res. 1997; 15(2): 213–220.
  22. Netter FH. Netter Atlas of Human Anatomy (8th ed). Elsevier, Amsterdam 2023: 522.
  23. Poritsky R. Anatomy to Color and Study (2nd ed.). Converpage, Pennsylvania 2011: 54.
  24. Prabhath S, Alappatt K, Shetty A, et al. An exploratory study of the histomorphogenesis and zonal vascular changes in the human fetal medial meniscus. Trans Res Anat. 2021; 25: 100148.
  25. Proffen BL, McElfresh M, Fleming BC, et al. A comparative anatomical study of the human knee and six animal species. Knee. 2012; 19(4): 493–499.
  26. Ribitsch I, Baptista PM, Lange-Consiglio A, et al. Large animal models in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering: to do or not to do. Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2020; 8: 972.
  27. Sandmann GH, Adamczyk C, Grande Garcia E, et al. Biomechanical comparison of menisci from different species and artificial constructs. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2013; 14: 324.
  28. Scapinelli R. Studies on the vasculature of the human knee joint. Acta Anat (Basel). 1968; 70(3): 305–331.
  29. Scott PG, Nakano T, Dodd CM. Isolation and characterization of small proteoglycans from different zones of the porcine knee meniscus. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1997; 1336(2): 254–262.
  30. Seitz AM, Schwer J, de Roy L, et al. Knee Joint Menisci Are Shock Absorbers: A Biomechanical Study on Porcine Stifle Joints. Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2022; 10: 837554.
  31. Sission S. The anatomy of the domestic animals (2nd). W B Saunders Company, Philadelphia 1930: 366.
  32. Sweigart MA, Zhu CF, Burt DM, et al. Intraspecies and interspecies comparison of the compressive properties of the medial meniscus. Ann Biomed Eng. 2004; 32(11): 1569–1579.
  33. Takroni T, Laouar L, Adesida A, et al. Anatomical study: comparing the human, sheep and pig knee meniscus. J Exp Orthop. 2016; 3(1): 35.
  34. Yu H, Adesida AB, Jomha NM. Meniscus repair using mesenchymal stem cells - a comprehensive review. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2015; 6(1): 86.
  35. Zhang X, Aoyama T, Ito A, et al. Regional comparisons of porcine menisci. J Orthop Res. 2014; 32(12): 1602–1611.