Differences in structural and pain phenotypes in the sodium monoiodoacetate and meniscal transection models of osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2013 Sep;21(9):1336-45. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2013.06.031.


Objectives: To characterize differences in joint pathology and pain behavior between two rat models of osteoarthritis (OA) in order to inform selection of animal models for interventional studies.

Method: Knee OA was induced in Sprague Dawley rats by either meniscal transection (MNX) or intra-articular injection of monosodium iodoacetate (MIA). Controls were subjected to sham surgery or saline-injection. In a separate experiment, a single intra-articular injection of triamcinolone acetonide was administered 14 days after MNX or MIA arthritis induction. Pain behavior and joint pathology were quantified.

Results: Both models displayed synovial inflammation, chondropathy and osteophytosis. Chondropathy scores increased with time similarly in the two models. Inflammation and osteophyte scores were greater in MNX model compared to the MIA model. At day 49, the MNX model exhibited a greater number of channels crossing the osteochondral junction compared to all other groups. The MNX model exhibited greater weight bearing asymmetry compared to the MIA model, whereas the MIA model displayed more consistent hindpaw allodynia. Triamcinolone attenuated weight bearing asymmetry and distal allodynia to control levels in the MNX model, but distal allodynia was unaltered in the MIA model.

Conclusions: The comparison of the two models of OA in rats, using identical assessment tools has demonstrated that although both models display features of OA, there are differences between the models which may represent different aspects of human OA. Thus, model selection should be based on the pathological aspects of OA under investigation.

Keywords: Animal models; Glucocorticosteroids; Inflammation; Osteoarthritis; Pain.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Arthritis, Experimental / pathology
  • Arthritis, Experimental / physiopathology*
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Cartilage, Articular / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Iodoacetic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Menisci, Tibial / physiopathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / chemically induced
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / pathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology*
  • Osteophyte / chemically induced
  • Osteophyte / pathology
  • Osteophyte / physiopathology
  • Pain Threshold / physiology*
  • Phenotype
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Synovitis / chemically induced
  • Synovitis / pathology
  • Synovitis / physiopathology
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries*


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Iodoacetic Acid