Author(s): Mirams M, Tatarczuch L, Ahmed YA, Pagel CN, Jeffcott LB,
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Abstract Osteochondrosis is a condition involving defective endochondral ossification and retention of cartilage in subchondral bone. The pathophysiology of this condition is poorly characterized, but it has been proposed that the fundamental defect is failure of chondrocyte hypertrophy. The aim of the current study was to characterize phenotypic changes in chondrocytes associated with the initiation of osteochondrosis. Early lesions were induced in an equine model of osteochondrosis by feeding foals a high energy diet for 8 or 15 weeks. Lesions in articular-epiphyseal growth cartilage were examined histologically and by quantitative PCR analysis of expression of a number of genes representative of pathways that regulate chondrocyte behavior during endochondral ossification. There were more cells present in clusters in the lesions compared to normal articular cartilage. Expression of matrix metalloproteinase-13, type I collagen, type X collagen, and Runx2 mRNA was significantly greater in the lesions compared to normal cartilage from the same joint. Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor, type II collagen, connective tissue growth factor, aggrecan, Sox9, and fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 mRNA was not significantly different in lesions than in control cartilage. These observations suggest that osteochondrosis does not result from failure of chondrocytes to undergo hypertrophy.
This article was published in J Orthop Res
and referenced in Journal of Molecular Biomarkers & Diagnosis