5 years ago

Definition of a Critical Size Osteochondral Knee Defect and its Negative Effect on the Surrounding Articular Cartilage in the Rat

Joint trauma is predisposing to the incidence of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. There is a limited knowledge on the impact of posttraumatic osteochondral defects on the whole joint. This study was designed to define a critical size osteochondral defect in the knee of rats and to investigate a possible association between osteochondral defects and degeneration of the surrounding joint surface. Methods Cylindrical osteochondral defects of different sizes were created in the knee joint of rats. The natural course of these lesions was studied by macroscopic observation, histology, and immunohistochemistry. Gene expression of the articular cartilage surrounding the defects in vivo and of articular chondrocytes cultured in vitro in IL1β and fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) supplemented media was evaluated by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Results In defects of 0.9 mm diameter, spontaneous joint surface healing was observed but also upward advancing of the subchondral bone plate at 16 weeks. Larger 1.4 mm diameter defects were critical size, not resulting in successful healing at any time point. Importantly, the articular cartilage surrounding the defects expressed FGF2 and IL1β, but not ACAN and Col2. Chondrocytes cultured in IL1β and FGF2 supplemented media lost the natural fibroblast growth factor receptors – FGFr1/FGFr3 balance and showed decreased viability. Conclusions A critical size osteochondral defect was defined as 1.4 mm in diameter in rat. Subchondral bone plate advancement occured rapidly. The articular cartilage surrounding osteochondral defects showed catabolic activity with expression of IL1β, FGF2 and a disturbed FGFr1/FGFr3 balance, potentially initiating a process of early osteoarthritic disease.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S1063458417309913

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