Quantitative X-ray microradiography for high-throughput phenotyping of osteoarthritis in mice

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2014 Oct;22(10):1396-400. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2014.04.015. Epub 2014 Apr 30.


Objective: To investigate and validate digital X-ray microradiography as a novel, high-throughput and cost-effective screening approach to identify abnormal joint phenotypes in mice.

Method: Digital X-ray microradiography was used to quantify the subchondral bone mineral content (BMC) in the medial tibial plateau. Accuracy and reproducibility of the method were determined in 22 samples from C57BL/6(B6Brd;B6Dnk;B6N-Tyr(c-Brd)) wild-type mice. The method was then validated in wild-type mice that had undergone surgical destabilisation of medial meniscus (DMM) and in a genetically modified mouse strain with an established increase in trabecular bone mass.

Results: The measurement of subchondral BMC by digital X-ray microradiography had a coefficient of variation of 3.6%. Digital X-ray microradiography was able to demonstrate significantly increased subchondral BMC in the medial tibial plateau of male mice 4 and 8 weeks after DMM surgery and in female mice 8 weeks after surgery. Furthermore, digital X-ray microradiography also detected the increase in subchondral BMC in a genetically modified mouse strain with high trabecular bone mass.

Conclusion: Quantitation of subchondral BMC by digital X-ray microradiography is a rapid, sensitive and cost-effective method to identify abnormal joint phenotypes in mice of both genders at several ages.

Keywords: Bone mineral content; Destabilisation of the medial meniscus; Digital X-ray microradiography; Mouse phenotyping; Osteoarthritis; Subchondral bone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Density*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Knee Joint / diagnostic imaging*
  • Knee Joint / pathology
  • Male
  • Menisci, Tibial / surgery
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microradiography*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / diagnostic imaging*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / pathology
  • Phenotype*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Tibia / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tibia / pathology