© 2018 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 36:2147–2156, 2018.

Mitoprotective therapy preserves chondrocyte viability and prevents cartilage degeneration in an ex vivo model of posttraumatic osteoarthritis

Michelle L. Delco Edward D. Bonnevie Hazel S. Szeto Lawrence J. Bonassar Lisa A. Fortier
Ankle Elbow Hip Knee Shoulder Wrist

No disease‐modifying osteoarthritis (OA) drugs are available to prevent posttraumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA). Mitochondria (MT) mediate the pathogenesis of many degenerative diseases, and recent evidence indicates that MT dysfunction is a peracute (within minutes to hours) response of cartilage to mechanical injury. The goal of this study was to investigate cardiolipin‐targeted mitoprotection as a new strategy to prevent chondrocyte death and cartilage degeneration after injury. Cartilage was harvested from bovine knee joints and subjected to a single, rapid impact injury (24.0 ±1.4 MPa, 53.8 ± 5.3 GPa/s). Explants were then treated with a mitoprotective peptide, SS‐31 (1µM), immediately post‐impact, or at 1, 6, or 12 h after injury, and then cultured for up to 7 days. Chondrocyte viability and apoptosis were quantified in situ using confocal microscopy. Cell membrane damage (lactate dehydrogenase activity) and cartilage matrix degradation (glycosaminoglycan loss) were quantified in cartilage‐conditioned media. SS‐31 treatment at all time points after impact resulted in chondrocyte viability similar to that of un‐injured controls. This effect was sustained for up to a week in culture. Further, SS‐31 prevented impact‐induced chondrocyte apoptosis, cell membrane damage, and cartilage matrix degeneration. Clinical Significance: This study is the first investigation of cardiolipin‐targeted mitoprotective therapy in cartilage. These results suggest that even when treatment is delayed by up to 12 h after injury, mitoprotection may be a useful strategy in the prevention of PTOA.

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