Journal of Orthopaedic Research Volume 37, Issue 12 p. 2550-2560

Dog as a Model for Osteoarthritis: The FGF4 Retrogene Insertion May Matter

Anna R. Tellegen Aileen J. Dessing Kaat Houben Frank M. Riemers Laura B. Creemers Simon C. Mastbergen Björn P. Meij Alberto Miranda‐Bedate Marianna A. Tryfonidou
Ankle Elbow Hip Knee Shoulder Wrist

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease associated with chronic pain and disability in humans and companion animals. The canine species can be subdivided into non‐chondrodystrophic (NCD) and chondrodystrophic (CD) dogs, the latter having disproportionally short limbs due to disturbance in endochondral ossification of long bones. This phenotype is associated with retrogene insertions of the fibroblast growth factor 4 (FGF4) gene, resulting in enhanced fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) signaling. The effect on cartilage is unknown and in experimental studies with dogs, breeds are seemingly employed randomly. The aim of this study was to determine whether CD‐ and NCD‐derived cartilage differs on a structural and biochemical level, and to explore the relationship between FGF4 associated chondrodystrophy and OA. Cartilage explants from CD and NCD dogs were cultured for 21 days. Activation of canonical Wnt signaling was assessed in primary canine chondrocytes. OA and synovitis severity from an experimental OA model were compared between healthy and OA samples from CD and NCD dogs. Release of glycosaminoglycans, DNA content, and cyclooxygenase 2 (COX‐2) expression were higher in NCD cartilage explants. Healthy cartilage from NCD dogs displayed higher cartilage degeneration and synovitis scores, which was aggravated by the induction of OA. Dikkopf‐3 gene expression was higher in NCD cartilage. No differences in other Wnt pathway read outs were found. To conclude, chondrodystrophy associated with the FGF4 retrogene seems to render CD dogs less susceptible to the development of OA when compared with NCD dogs. These differences should be considered when choosing a canine model to study the pathobiology and new treatment strategies of OA. © 2019 The Authors. Journal of Orthopaedic Research® Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 37:2550–2560, 2019

Download article