Although articular cartilage is the target of osteoarthritis (OA), its deterioration is not always clearly associated with patient symptoms. Because a functional interaction between cartilage and bone is crucial, the pathophysiology of OA and its treatment strategy must focus also on subchondral bone. We investigated whether adipose-derived stromal cells (ASCs) injected into a joint at two different concentrations could prevent subchondral bone damage after the onset of mild OA in a rabbit model. We measured both volumetric and densitometric aspects of bone remodeling. Although OA can stimulate bone remodeling either catabolically or anabolically over time, the accelerated turnover does not allow complete mineralization of new bone and therefore gradually reduces its density. We measured changes in morphometric and densitometric bone parameters using micro-CT analysis and correlated them with the corresponding parameters in cartilage and meniscus. We found that ASCs promoted cartilage repair and helped counteract the accelerated bone turnover that occurs with OA.
Keywords: adipose-derived stromal cells; mesenchymal stem cells; micro-CT; osteoarthritis; rabbit; subchondral bone.