Macrophages play an important role in the development and progression of osteoarthritis (OA). The aim of this study was to identify macrophage phenotypes in synovium and monocyte subsets in peripheral blood in C57BL/6 mice by destabilizing the medial meniscus (DMM), and the association of macrophage subsets with OA features. DMM, sham, and non-operated knees were histologically assessed between 1 and 56 days for macrophage polarization states by immunohistochemistry (IHC), cartilage damage, synovial thickening, and osteophytes (n = 9 per timepoint). Naive knees (n = 6) were used as controls. Monocyte and polarized synovial macrophage subsets were evaluated by flow cytometry. CD64 and CD206 levels on IHC were higher at early timepoints in DMM and sham knees compared to naive knees. iNOS labeling intensity was higher in DMM and sham knees than in naive knees from d3 onwards. CD163 expression was unaltered at all timepoints. Even though macrophage polarization profiles were similar in DMM and sham knees, only in DMM knees the presence of iNOS and CD206 associated with synovial thickness, and CD163 staining inversely correlated with osteophyte presence. At day 14, monocyte subset distribution was different in peripheral blood of DMM mice compared with sham mice. In conclusion, monocyte subsets in blood and synovial macrophage phenotypes vary after joint surgery. High levels of iNOS+, CD163+, and CD206+ cells are found in both destabilized and sham-operated knees, and coexistence with joint instability may be a requirement to initiate and exacerbate OA progression.

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Journal of Orthopaedic Research: a journal for musculoskeletal investigation
Department of Orthopaedics

Utomo, L., Fahy, N., Kops, N., van Tiel, S., Waarsing, J., Verhaar, J., … Bastiaansen-Jenniskens, Y.M. (Yvonne M.). (2020). Macrophage phenotypes and monocyte subsets after destabilization of the medial meniscus in mice. Journal of Orthopaedic Research: a journal for musculoskeletal investigation. doi:10.1002/jor.24958