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Significant synovial pathology in a meniscectomy model of osteoarthritis: modification by intra-articular hyaluronan therapy

Smith, M.M., Cake, M.A.ORCID: 0000-0002-0072-9024, Ghosh, P., Schiavinato, A., Read, R.A. and Little, C.B. (2008) Significant synovial pathology in a meniscectomy model of osteoarthritis: modification by intra-articular hyaluronan therapy. Rheumatology, 47 (8). pp. 1172-1178.

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Objective. IA therapy with hyaluronan (HA) is reported to provide symptomatic relief and disease modification in OA. This study assessed the pathological changes in the synovium of an ovine model of OA and evaluated the effects of two HA preparations on this pathology.

Methods. Eighteen sheep had bilateral lateral meniscectomy to induce OA. Four months post-surgery animals received IA saline or HA (Hyalgan®) weekly for 5 weeks or three injections of an amide derivative of HA (HYADD®4-G) every 2 weeks (n = 6 per group). Six months after meniscectomy, sheep were killed, knee joint synovium processed, scored for pathological change and compared with synovium from non-operated animals. Sections of synovium from normal and treated joints were also immunostained for TNF-α, HSP-47, TGF-β, CD44, connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) or iNOS. HA synthesis by synovial fibroblasts isolated from each OA joint was quantified.

Results. Aggregate scores of pathological change were higher in OA joint synovia compared with controls, with individual measures of subintimal fibrosis and vascularity predominantly affected. Depth of intimal fibrosis was also significantly higher in meniscectomized joints. IA treatment with Hyalgan® decreased aggregate score, vascularity and depth of fibrosis. HYADD®4-G treatment decreased vascularity, intimal hyperplasia and increased high-molecular weight HA synthesis by synovial fibroblasts. CD44, CTGF or iNOS expression was increased in the synovial lining of OA joints compared with normal, but there was no significant modulation of this increase by either HA preparation.

Conclusion. Increased fibrosis and vascularity are hallmarks of pathological change in synovium in this meniscectomy model of OA. Both the IA HA and an amide derivative of HA reduced aspects of this pathology thus providing a potential mechanism for improving joint mobility and function in OA.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Copyright: 2008 The Authors
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