Targeting subchondral bone for treating osteoarthritis: what is the evidence?

Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2010 Feb;24(1):51-70. doi: 10.1016/j.berh.2009.08.004.


Over the past few decades, significant progress has been made with respect to new concepts about the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis (OA). This article summarises some of the knowledge we have today on the involvement of the subchondral bone in OA. It provides substantial evidence that changes in the metabolism of the subchondral bone are an integral part of the OA disease process and that these alterations are not merely secondary manifestations, but are part of a more active component of the disease. Thus, a strong rationale exists for therapeutic approaches that target subchondral bone resorption and/or formation, and data evaluating the drugs targeting bone remodelling raise the hope that new treatment options for OA may become available.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bone Remodeling / drug effects
  • Bone Remodeling / physiology
  • Bone and Bones* / drug effects
  • Bone and Bones* / metabolism
  • Bone and Bones* / pathology
  • Cartilage, Articular / metabolism
  • Cartilage, Articular / pathology
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Humans
  • Osteoarthritis* / drug therapy
  • Osteoarthritis* / metabolism
  • Osteoarthritis* / pathology


  • Biomarkers
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents