Localized Characterization of an In Vivo Experimental Model of Post- Traumatic Osteoarthritis
De Nijs, Nica
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Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common chronic joint condition, affecting around 27 million people worldwide with an annual cost of over $100 billion in the United States alone. It is a degenerative disease classified by the progressive degradation of the articular cartilage due to processes such as depletion of proteoglycans, hypertrophic differentiation of chondrocytes, surface erosion, and lesion formation in the subchondral bone and cartilage. Recently, OA has been linked to synovitis in the knee as well, showing that OA is a condition that effects the whole joint, not just the cartilage. The Medial Meniscal Transection (MMT) model is a post-traumatic mechanical model of OA, in which the destabilization of the medial meniscus results in characteristic features of human OA. Although the MMT model is the industry standard for therapeutic testing, localized expression events have not been characterized. To evaluate prospective tissue engineering and regenerative medicine approaches in OA, a reliable test bed must be established with well-characterized events. In a microarray gene expression study, we have shown that, in the synovium and the articular cartilage, genes typically associated with OA showed similar altered expression in the MMT model. These results were then validated using immunohistochemistry tools. Sections of medial and lateral sides of the articular cartilage and synovium were stained for chondrogenic and osteogenic proteins, MMPs, and inflammatory cytokines, characterizing localized protein expression events in the model over time to trace the progression of artificial OA in the model and better establish a testing bed for regenerative medicine interventions for OA.