Objective: Although osteoarthritis (OA) is induced by accumulated mechanical stress to joints, little is known about the underlying molecular mechanism. To apply approaches from mouse genomics, this study created experimental mouse OA models by producing instability in the knee joints.
Methods: The models were of four types: severe, moderate, mild, and medial, depending on the severity and direction of instability imposed by combinations of ligament transection and menisectomy. OA development was evaluated by X-ray and histology by Safranin-O staining, and quantified using our original gradings. Expressions of type II, IX and X collagens and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2, -3, -9 and -13 were further examined by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization (ISH).
Results: The severe, moderate and mild models exhibited OA development in the posterior tibial cartilage. The severe model showed cartilage destruction at 2 weeks and osteophyte formation at 4-8 weeks after surgery; however, the mild model showed only a partial cartilage destruction at 8 weeks. The grading confirmed that the OA disorders progressed depending on the severity of joint instability. In the medial model, the OA development in the medial tibial cartilage was similar to that in the posterior cartilage of the mild model. Among the collagens and MMPs, type X collagen and MMP-13 were markedly induced and colocalized in the early stage OA cartilage.
Conclusion: We established four types of mouse models exhibiting various speeds of OA progression. By applying a mouse genomics approach to the models, molecular backgrounds in various stages of OA development can be clarified.