Intra-articular hyaluronate in experimental rabbit osteoarthritis can prevent changes in cartilage proteoglycan content11Supported by the Department of Trade and Industry (UK), the Scottish Home and Health Department, the Wellcome Trust and the University of Edinburgh.
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OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of intra-articular injections of high molecular weight (2000 kDa) sodium hyaluronate (HA) on the progression of articular cartilage degeneration in a rabbit partial medial meniscectomy model of osteoarthritis. DESIGN: Six experimental groups included normal, sham operated, and operated and injected animals, the latter injected once-weekly (for two weeks or twelve weeks, beginning four weeks after surgery) with either 1% (w/v) HA or phosphate buffered saline (PBS). Following assessment of gross morphology, serial adjacent blocks of full-depth articular cartilage were prepared from the tibial condyle for analysis of total water, hydroxyproline, DNA and proteoglycan (uronic acid) content, as well as the ratio of galactosamine to glucosamine. Samples were sub-divided into inner (medial) and outer (lateral) regions. RESULTS: No morphological differences were recognized between joints injected with PBS and those receiving HA. When analysed biochemically, there were no significant differences in hydration, hydroxyproline or DNA content between the experimental groups. In contrast, HA injection did affect changes in proteoglycan content. Expressed per tissue dry weight, uronic acid content in the operated group injected with PBS for two weeks was lower than normal (P<0.02), a result not seen in the corresponding HA injected group. After 12 weeks of PBS injections, uronic acid content (per dry weight) was higher than normal (P<0.01), an effect again not observed in the corresponding HA injected group. Results for the galactosamine: glucosamine ratio showed a reduction after 12 weeks of injections, but no differences between PBS and HA injected groups. CONCLUSIONS: Once-weekly, intra-articular injection of high molecular weight HA can prevent changes in proteoglycan content in tibial condylar articular cartilage, compared to PBS injected controls, in the rabbit partial meniscectomy model of osteoarthritis.
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