Objective: Current osteoarthritis (OA) histopathology assessment methods have difficulties in their utility for early disease, as well as their reproducibility and validity. Our objective was to devise a more useful method to assess OA histopathology that would have wide application for clinical and experimental OA assessment and would become recognized as the standard method.
Design: An OARSI Working Group deliberated on principles, standards and features for an OA cartilage pathology assessment system. Using current knowledge of the pathophysiology of OA morphologic features, a proposed system was presented at OARSI 2000. Subsequently, this was widely circulated for comments amongst experts in OA pathology.
Results: An OA cartilage pathology assessment system based on six grades, which reflect depth of the lesion and four stages reflecting extent of OA over the joint surface was developed.
Conclusions: The OARSI cartilage OA histopathology grading system appears consistent and simple to apply. Further studies are required to confirm the system's utility.