Author(s): Kouri JB, Jimnez SA, Quintero M, Chico A
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Abstract Knee articular cartilage samples obtained by arthroscopy from ten patients with well defined knee osteoarthritis (OA) were studied by light and transmission electron microscopy. The morphological phenotype of cells from fibrillated and non-fibrillated regions of OA cartilage was characterized. Three different cell sub-populations were identified. Type 1 cells were found in the superficial and upper middle zones and comprised single chondrocytes and cells organized in aggregates or "clones' that showed a typical chondrocyte phenotype. Type 2 cells displayed a secretory phenotype. Type 3 cells comprised chondrocytes undergoing a degenerative process and were distributed throughout all zones of the cartilage. Changes in the cytoskeletal arrangement, presence of abundant filopodia, peripheral localization of centrioles, and presence of primary cilia were found in many chondrocytes suggesting that they are active motile cells. No mitotic figures were found in this study. Morphometrical analysis was performed to determine the total number of cells and the number of chondrocytes per lacuna in the superficial and upper middle zones of fibrillated and non-fibrillated OA cartilage. There were no statistically significant differences in the total number of cells. In contrast, fibrillated OA cartilage contained a statistically significantly higher percentage of lacunae containing four of more chondrocytes than non-fibrillated OA cartilage samples. The absence of mitotic figures and the presence of motile elements in many chondrocytes raise the possibility that cell aggregates or "clones' in damaged OA cartilage originate by an active process of cell migration rather than by cellular division.
This article was published in Osteoarthritis Cartilage
and referenced in Rheumatology: Current Research