Type II collagen degradation in articular cartilage fibrillation after anterior cruciate ligament transection in rats.
SourceOsteoarthritis and Cartilage, 9, 4, (2001), pp. 308--15
Article / Letter to editor
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Osteoarthritis and Cartilage
SubjectChronic arthritis: Pathogenesis and treatment; Mechano-biology of musculoskeletal tissues; Chronische arthritis: Pathogenese en behandeling; Mechano-biologie van bindweefsels i.r.t. orthopaedische reconstructies
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the kinetics of early cartilage changes in mechanically induced osteoarthritis (OA) and the association of these changes with damage to the type II collagen network. METHODS: Experimental OA was induced by anterior cruciate ligament transsection in the rat knee joint (ACLT-OA). Animals were sacrificed after 2, 7, 14, 28 and 70 days. Knee joints were evaluated using routine histology and immunohistochemistry for denatured (unwound) type II collagen to detect collagen damage. An antibody recognizing the collagenase cleavage site in type II collagen was used to study the role of collagenase in this process. RESULTS: The first changes of the articular cartilage after anterior cruciate ligament transection occurred in the superficial zone. These changes included loss of superficial chondrocytes, swelling of the remaining chondrocytes and superficial fibrillation. The swelling of the chondrocytes did not result from a change towards the hypertrophic phenotype, since these cells did not stain for type X collagen. A marked increase in denatured type II collagen staining was present in the fibrillated areas. Staining of the collagenase cleavage site showed the same distribution as denatured collagen but was clearly less intense. Collagen damage could never be detected before fibrillation occurred and was not present in non-fibrillated areas. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that in this model cartilage degeneration starts at the articular surface and that this degeneration is associated with a localized expression of type II collagen degradation products.
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