Normal and stored articular cartilage from the medial tibial plateaus of mature canine knee joints were evaluated histologically and biomechanically. The medial plateaus from the right knee (control) were assessed fresh, while the left (stored) were preserved in culture media at 4 degrees C for 3, 7, 14, or 28 days and then evaluated. Biomechanically, confined compression tests were performed on all specimens to determine the aggregate modulus and apparent permeability of the articular cartilage. Histologically, Safranin O- and hematoxylin and eosin (H&E)-stained sections were evaluated. All stored cartilage specimens had an aggregate modulus on average lower than normal, but the differences were not significant (p greater than 0.10). The apparent permeability was on average higher than but also not significantly different from normal (p greater than 0.10). Time in storage (up to 28 days) did not have a significant effect on the biomechanical properties of stored cartilage normalized by control values (p greater than 0.50). Safranin O and H&E histological evaluation also showed no overall changes in cell appearance or staining of the stored cartilage when compared with control for the time periods studied.