Our last publication in the Journal of Biomechanics depicts Subchondral bone alterations in a novel model of intermediate post traumatic osteoarthritis in mice

In Post Traumatic Osteoarthritis (PTOA), hypomineralization and increased remodeling of the Subchondral bone (SB) are the first stages of tissue alterations. Although these alterations are well depicted and one of the main targets in OA intervention, the link between SB compositional and mechanical properties alterations during OA progression remains scarce in the literature. Here, we hypothesized that SB shows – right after the first sign of gait pattern changes – a decrease in SB tissue formation depicted by (i) a decrease in thickness, (ii) a lower nanoscopic stiffness, and (iii) a decrease in mineral and collagen maturity. To test our hypothesis, we investigated PTOA in female C57Bl6 mice's right knee (n = 13 control group [CL] and n = 27 PTOA group) by using Gait Analysis, Histomorphometry, Nanoindentation, and Raman Spectroscopy (RS). We showed (i) an increased OA histological grade, (ii) a decrease in Cartilage and SB thickness, and (ii) an increase of stance time and stride length on both limbs. The lateral condyle – where the main forces were applied - of mice with PTOA decreased in the degree of mineralization and crystal size and presented a lower Modulus of Elasticity (E). However, while no difference was observed regarding collagen or mineral-related compositional RS properties, we depicted higher crystallinity in the medial condyle than the lateral condyle in the PTOA group, which we did not observe in the control group. Our study depicts an early onset of intermediate PTOA where SB nanoscopic stiffness decreases while the degree of mineralization is not severely altered yet.

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