Dystrophic Mineralization of Costal Cartilage in Hartley Guinea Pigs

May 22, 2017

The University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and American Preclinical Services collaborate to document a previously undocumented novel lesion of Hartley guinea pigs, dystrophic mineralization of costal cartilage, as an incidental finding.


Hartley guinea pigs are widely used animal models of disease, particularly in studies of osteoarthritis. The purpose of this study was to investigate lesions in the costal cartilage from 16 male, 5- to 6-month-old Hartley guinea pigs. Routine histological sections from the costal cartilage and costochondral junction (longitudinal and cross sections) and sternum (for evaluation of bone marrow) were examined. All 16 (100%) animals had histological lesions involving the costal cartilage that included matrix degeneration and mineralization, reduced cellularity, and evidence of chondrocyte necrosis. Of the 16, 4 (25%) of the lesions contained blood vessels and 3 (19%) contained central osseous metaplasia. The cartilage lesions were accompanied by degeneration (sometimes with regeneration and/or fibrosis) in adjacent skeletal muscle in 15 of the 16 (94%) animals. The lesions in the costal cartilage were interpreted as dystrophic mineralization of unknown cause and appear to be incidental findings, although they bear some resemblance to lesions occurring in Tietze’s disease in humans. The significance of the lesions in skeletal muscle is unclear. Histological lesions of cartilage matrix degeneration and mineralization in these sites have not, to our knowledge, been reported previously.

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