Understanding cartilage protection in OA and injury: a spectrum of possibilities. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 21, 432 (2020).

Understanding cartilage protection in OA and injury: a spectrum of possibilities

Masson, A.O., Krawetz, R.J.
Ankle Elbow Hip Knee Shoulder Wrist


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a prevalent musculoskeletal disease resulting in progressive degeneration of the hyaline articular cartilage within synovial joints. Current repair treatments for OA often result in poor quality tissue that is functionally ineffective compared to the hyaline cartilage and demonstrates increased failure rates post-treatment. Complicating efforts to improve clinical outcomes, animal models used in pre-clinical research show significant heterogeneity in their regenerative and degenerative responses associated with their species, age, genetic/epigenetic traits, and context of cartilage injury or disease. These can lead to variable outcomes when testing and validating novel therapeutic approaches for OA. Furthermore, it remains unclear whether protection against OA among different model systems is driven by inhibition of cartilage degeneration, enhancement of cartilage regeneration, or any combination thereof.

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Understanding the mechanistic basis underlying this context-dependent duality is essential for the rational design of targeted cartilage repair and OA therapies. Here, we discuss some of the critical variables related to the cross-species paradigm of degenerative and regenerative abilities found in pre-clinical animal models, to highlight that a gradient of regenerative competence within cartilage may exist across species and even in the greater human population, and likely influences clinical outcomes.


A more complete understanding of the endogenous regenerative potential of cartilage in a species specific context may facilitate the development of effective therapeutic approaches for cartilage injury and/or OA.

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