BACKGROUND: This study evaluates changes in peri-articular bone in two canine models for osteoarthritis: the groove model and the anterior cruciate ligament transection (ACLT) model. METHODS: Evaluation was performed at 10 and 20 weeks post-surgery and in addition a 3-weeks time point was studied for the groove model. Cartilage was analysed, and architecture of the subchondral plate and trabecular bone of epiphyses was quantified using micro-CT. RESULTS: At 10 and 20 weeks cartilage histology and biochemistry demonstrated characteristic features of osteoarthritis in both models (very mild changes at 3 weeks). The groove model presented osteophytes only at 20 weeks, whereas the ACLT model showed osteophytes already at 10 weeks. Trabecular bone changes in the groove model were small and not consistent. This contrasts the ACLT model in which bone volume fraction was clearly reduced at 10 and 20 weeks (15-20%). However, changes in metaphyseal bone indicate unloading in the ACLT model, not in the groove model. For both models the subchondral plate thickness was strongly reduced (25-40%) and plate porosity was strongly increased (25-85%) at all time points studied. CONCLUSION: These findings show differential regulation of subchondral trabecular bone in the groove and ACLT model, with mild changes in the groove model and more severe changes in the ACLT model. In the ACLT model, part of these changes may be explained by unloading of the treated leg. In contrast, subchondral plate thinning and increased porosity were very consistent in both models, independent of loading conditions, indicating that this thinning is an early response in the osteoarthritis process.

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Sniekers, Y., Intema, F., Lafeber, F., van Osch, G., van Leeuwen, H., Weinans, H., & Mastbergen, S. (2008). A role for subchondral bone changes in the process of osteoarthritis; a micro-CT study of two canine models. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 9. doi:10.1186/1471-2474-9-20