J Orthop Surg Res 12, 65 (2017).

Expression of calcitonin gene-related peptide in the infrapatellar fat pad in knee osteoarthritis patients

Aikawa, J., Uchida, K., Takano, S. et al.


The infrapatellar fat pad (IPFP) has been implicated as a possible source of osteoarthritis (OA) development and knee pain due to the production of inflammatory mediators and the existence of nerve fibers within this structure. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a vasodilatory neuropeptide that is localized to joint tissues and has recently been implicated in the development of knee OA and OA pain. To date, however, the expression levels of CGRP in the IPFP of human knee OA patients have not been examined.


IFFP and synovial (SYN) tissues were harvested from 100 individuals with radiographic knee OA (unilateral Kellgren/Lawrence [K/L] grades 2–4) during total knee arthroplasty and subjected to immunohistochemical analysis for CGRP localization. In addition, the messenger RNA (mRNA) expression levels of CGRP and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in the collected tissues were evaluated and compared using real-time PCR analysis of total RNA extracts. CGRP and COX-2 mRNA expression were also compared among individuals with K/L grades 2–4.


CGRP-positive cells were detected in the capillaries within the IPFP and lining layer of SYN tissue. The expression levels of CGRP in the IPFP were positively correlated with COX-2 and were significantly higher than those in SYN tissue. CGRP expression in tissue from the KL4 group was twofold higher than that from the KL2 group.


The IPFP of knee OA patients produces relatively high levels of CGRP, which may be regulated by COX-2 at the transcriptional level. Further studies are needed to determine if CGRP levels are directly linked to OA pathology.

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