Regional differences in chondrocyte metabolism in osteoarthritis: A detailed analysis by laser capture microdissection

Authors


Abstract

Objective

To determine the change in metabolic activity of chondrocytes in osteoarthritic (OA) cartilage, considering regional difference and degree of cartilage degeneration.

Methods

OA cartilage was obtained from knee joints with end-stage OA, at both macroscopically intact areas and areas with various degrees of cartilage degeneration. Control cartilage was obtained from age-matched donors. Using laser capture microdissection, cartilage samples were separated into superficial, middle, and deep zones, and gene expression was compared quantitatively in the respective zones between OA and control cartilage.

Results

In OA cartilage, gene expression changed markedly with the site. The expression of cartilage matrix genes was highly enhanced in macroscopically intact areas, but the enhancement was less obvious in the degenerated areas, especially in the upper regions. In contrast, in those regions, the expression of type III collagen and fibronectin was most enhanced, suggesting that chondrocytes underwent a phenotypic change there. Within OA cartilage, the expression of cartilage matrix genes was significantly correlated with SOX9 expression, but not with SOX5 or SOX6 expression. In OA cartilage, the strongest correlation was observed between the expression of type III collagen and fibronectin, suggesting the presence of a certain link(s) between their expression.

Conclusion

The results of this study revealed a comprehensive view of the metabolic change of the chondrocytes in OA cartilage. The change of gene expression profile was most obvious in the upper region of the degenerated cartilage. The altered gene expression at that region may be responsible for the loss of cartilage matrix associated with OA.

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