Osteoarthritis cartilage histopathology: grading and staging

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2006 Jan;14(1):13-29. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2005.07.014. Epub 2005 Oct 19.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthroscopy
  • Biomarkers
  • Bone Remodeling
  • Cartilage, Articular / pathology*
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Chondrocytes / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Joints / pathology
  • Osteoarthritis / pathology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sclerosis
  • Terminology as Topic


  • Biomarkers