Objective: To evaluate anterior cruciate ligament transection (ACLT) and destabilization of the medial meniscus (DMM) surgical instability models of osteoarthritis (OA) in the 129/SvEv mouse knee joint.
Design: Micro-surgical techniques were used to perform ACLT or DMM under direct visualization. Histological scoring was performed on multiple sections to assess cartilage damage across the entire joint.
Results: The ACLT model gave severe OA, chondrogenesis of the joint capsule and, in some cases, severe subchondral erosion of the posterior tibial plateau. Surgical DMM was less invasive than the ACLT procedure and resulted in lesions primarily on the central weight-bearing region of the medial tibial plateau and medial femoral condyles. Lesions in the DMM model progressed from mild-to-moderate OA at 4 weeks, to moderate-to-severe OA at 8 weeks post-surgery. Destruction of the subchondral bone was never observed in the DMM model.
Conclusions: ACLT is not recommended in the mouse due to the high surgical proficiency required and the development of severe OA that may involve subchondral bone erosion. The severity and location of lesions following DMM are consistent with lesions observed in aged spontaneous mouse models of OA. The DMM model has sufficient sensitivity to show disease modification, as observed with the ADAMTS-5 knock out (KO) mouse. The DMM model should be a first choice to challenge mice with gene deletions of potential targets in OA.