The initiating factors in primary, idiopathic osteoarthritis are unknown, the characteristic bone and cartilage changes being late features of the disease. We have proposed that biochemical cruciate ligament alteration may be important in early osteoarthritis by mediating loading consequences on the bone and cartilage. Using the widely accepted STR/ORT mouse model of spontaneous osteoarthritis we have found biochemical evidence that, before radiological signs of osteoarthritis develop, cruciate ligament collagen metabolism is upregulated in the STR/ORT mouse when compared to controls. Also, importantly, at this time the anterior cruciate ligament is weaker in STR/ORT mice than in controls. This is the first biochemical evidence to show that alterations in cruciate ligament metabolism occur early in the etiopathogenesis of idiopathic, primary osteoarthritis.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.