Accelerated post traumatic osteoarthritis in a dual injury murine model

Kendal McCulloch, Carmen Huesa, Lynette Dunning, Gary J. Litherland, Rob J. Van't Hof, John C. Lockhart, Carl S. Goodyear

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Joint injury involving destabilisation of the joint and damage to the articular cartilage (e.g. sports-related injury) can result in accelerated post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA). Destabilised
medial meniscotibial ligament (DMM) surgery is one of the most commonly used murine models and whilst it recapitulates OA pathology, it does not necessarily result in multi-tissue injury, as occurs in PTOA. We hypothesised that simultaneous cartilage damage and joint destabilisation would accelerate the onset of OA pathology.

OA was induced in C57BL/6 mice via (a) DMM, (b) microblade scratches of articular cartilage (CS) or (c) combined DMM and cartilage scratch (DCS). Mice were culled 7, 14 and 28 days post-surgery. Microcomputed tomography (μCT) and histology were used to monitor bone changes and inflammation. Dynamic weight bearing, an indirect measure of pain, was assessed on day 14.

Osteophytogenesis analysis via μCT revealed that osteophytes were present in all groups at days 7 and 14 post-surgery. However, in DCS, osteophytes were visually larger and more numerous when compared with DMM and CS. Histological assessment of cartilage at day 14 and 28, revealed significantly greater damage in DCS compared with DMM and CS. Furthermore, a significant increase in synovitis was observed in DCS. Finally, at day 14 osteophyte numbers correlated with changes in dynamic weight bearing.

Joint destabilisation when combined with simultaneous cartilage injury accelerates joint deterioration, as seen in PTOA. Thus, DCS provides a novel and robust model for investigating multiple
pathological hallmarks, including osteophytogenesis, cartilage damage, synovitis and OA-related pain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1800-1810
Number of pages11
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Issue number12
Early online date5 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2019


  • Post-traumatic osteoarthritis
  • Osteophytes
  • Synovitis
  • Pain
  • Osteoarthritis models
  • human disease


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