Molecular and Histological Analysis of a New Rat Model of Experimental Knee Osteoarthritis
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Articular cartilage degeneration is the most consistently observed feature of osteoarthritis (OA). Animal and human studies have shown that various forms of exercise influence the course of the disease in different ways. In addition, early changes in articular cartilage that influence the progression of OA, such as the expression of cytokines, require further investigation. We have used a surgically induced experimental model of knee OA to address these questions. Here, we discuss our recent studies investigating the effects of an exercise paradigm in surgically induced OA, which determined that the destabilized knee joint is susceptible to enhanced degeneration when subjected to low-intensity, low-impact exercise. Further, we investigated early global changes in gene expression in articular chondrocytes from degenerating cartilage. Identified candidate genes including genes involved in chemokine, endothelin, and transforming growth factor-alpha signaling are discussed in the context of articular cartilage degeneration in early OA.
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