METHODS: In this study, we investigated the response of cartilage to the trauma sustained during extraction and determined the time needed for the cartilage to stabilize. Explants were extracted aseptically from bovine metacarpal-phalangeal joints and cultured for up to 17 days.
RESULTS: The cell viability, cell number, proteoglycan content, and collagen content of the harvested explants were analyzed at 0, 2, 10, and 17 days after explantation. A high percentage of the cartilage explants were found to be viable. The cell density initially increased significantly but stabilized after two days. The proteoglycan content decreased gradually over time, but it did not decrease to a significant level due to leakage through the distorted peripheral collagen network and into the bathing medium. The collagen content remained stable for most of the culture period until it dropped abruptly on day 17.
CONCLUSION: Overall, the tested cartilage explants were sustainable over long-term culture. They were most stable from day 2 to day 10. The degradation of the collagen on day 17 did not reach diseased levels, but it indicated the potential of the cultures to develop into degenerated cartilage. These findings have implications for the application of cartilage explants in pathophysiological fields.
METHODS: A total of 28 articular cartilage samples from adult cats (14 OA and 14 normal), 10 synovial membranes from adult cats (five OA and five normal) and three cartilage samples from 9-week-old fetal cats were used. The presence of PAR2 and matriptase in the cartilage and synovial membrane of the adult samples was detected by immunohistochemical (IHC) staining, while real-time PCR was used for mRNA expression analyses in all samples.
RESULTS: PAR2 was detected in all OA and normal articular cartilage and synovial membrane samples but confined to only a few superficial chondrocytes in the normal samples. Matriptase was only detected in OA articular cartilage and synovial membrane samples. PAR2 and matriptase mRNA expression were, however, detected in all cartilage and synovial membrane samples. PAR2 and matriptase mRNA expression levels in OA articular cartilage were five (P <0.001) and 3.3 (P <0.001) times higher than that of the healthy group, respectively. There was no significant difference (P = 0.05) in the OA synovial membrane PAR2 and matriptase mRNA expression compared with the normal samples.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Detection of PAR2 and matriptase proteins and gene expression in feline articular tissues is a novel and important finding, and supports the hypothesis that serine proteases are involved in the pathogenesis of feline OA. The consistent presence of PAR2 and matriptase protein in the cytoplasm of OA chondrocytes suggests a possible involvement of proteases in cartilage degradation. Further investigations into the PAR2 and matriptase pathobiology could enhance our understanding of the proteolytic cascades in feline OA, which might lead to the development of novel therapeutic strategies.