Introduction: Although the extracellular matrix (ECM) is the functional element in articular cartilage and its degradation is central in the pathogenetic process in osteoarthritis (OA), increasing the knowledge about the cellular OA phenotype is essential. The aim of this study is therefore to provide a more complete picture of the cellular and molecular alterations detected in OA cartilage.
Material and methods: Human articular cartilage biopsies were collected from donors with macroscopical and microscopical signs of OA as well as donors with no previous history of OA and with microscopically intact cartilage. RNA was isolated from the biopsies and subjected to whole genome microarray analysis. Important results from the microarray analysis were verified using real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry.
Results: Our results reveal several new candidate genes not previously associated with OA to display significantly higher expression in OA cartilage than in normal donor cartilage, including genes involved in bone formation (CLEC3B, CDH11, GPNMB, CLEC3A, CHST11, MSX1, MSX2) and genes encoding collagens (COL13A1, COL14A1, COL15A1, COL8A2).
Discussion: This study is the first to report a comprehensive gene expression analysis of human OA cartilage compared to control cartilage from donors lacking macroscopical and microscopical signs of OA using recently developed microarrays containing the whole human genome. Our results could broadly confirm previously published data on many characteristic features of OA as well as adding a panel of genes to the list of genes known to be differentially expressed in OA. Elucidation of the phenotypical alterations occurring in OA chondrocytes is important for the development of effective treatments for OA.
2010 Osteoarthritis Research Society International. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.