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Transcriptomic analyses of joint tissues during osteoarthritis development in a rat model reveal dysregulated mechanotransduction and extracellular matrix pathways

Published:October 27, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joca.2022.10.003

      Summary

      Objective

      Transcriptomic changes in joint tissues during the development of osteoarthritis (OA) are of interest for the discovery of biomarkers and mechanisms of disease. The objective of this study was to use the rat medial meniscus transection (MMT) model to discover stage and tissue-specific transcriptomic changes.

      Design

      Sham or MMT surgeries were performed in mature rats. Cartilage, menisci and synovium were scored for histopathological changes at 2, 4 and 6 weeks post-surgery and processed for RNA-sequencing. Differentially expressed genes (DEG) were used to identify pathways and mechanisms. Published transcriptomic datasets from animal models and human OA were used to confirm and extend present findings.

      Results

      The total number of DEGs was already high at 2 weeks (723 in meniscus), followed by cartilage (259) and synovium (42) and declined to varying degrees in meniscus and synovium but increased in cartilage at 6 weeks. The most upregulated genes included tenascins. The ‘response to mechanical stimulus’ and extracellular matrix-related pathways were enriched in both cartilage and meniscus. Pathways that were enriched in synovium at 4 weeks indicate processes related to synovial hyperplasia and fibrosis. Synovium also showed upregulation of IL-11 and several MMPs. The mechanical stimulus pathway included upregulation of the mechanoreceptors PIEZO1, PIEZO2 and TRPV4 and nerve growth factor. Analysis of data from prior RNA-sequencing studies of animal models and human OA support these findings.

      Conclusion

      These results indicate several shared pathways that are affected during OA in cartilage and meniscus and support the role of mechanotransduction and other pathways in OA pathogenesis.

      Keywords

      Abbreviations:

      RNA-seq (RNA-sequencinig), DEG (Differentially Expressed Genes)
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