mechanisms of action

Mechanism of action

  1. Cartilage Quality (dGEMRIC Index) Following Knee Joint Distraction

or High Tibial Osteotomy

Besselink NJ, Vincken KL,  Bartels LW, van Heerwaarden RJ, Concepcion AN, Marijnissen AC, Spruijt S, Custers RJ, van der Woude JA, Wiegant K, Welsing PM, Mastbergen SC, Lafeber FP

Cartilage. First Published June 2, 2018

Objective: High tibial osteotomy (HTO) and knee joint distraction (KJD) are treatments to unload the osteoarthritic (OA) joint with proven success in postponing a total knee arthroplasty (TKA). While both treatments demonstrate joint repair, there is limited information about the quality of the regenerated tissue. Therefore, the change in quality of the repaired cartilaginous tissue after KJD and HTO was studied using delayed gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging of cartilage (dGEMRIC).

Design: Forty patients (20 KJD and 20 HTO), treated for medial tibiofemoral OA, were included in this study. Radiographic outcomes, clinical characteristics, and cartilage quality were evaluated at baseline, and at 1- and 2-year follow-up.

Results: Two years after KJD treatment, clear clinical improvement was observed. Moreover, a statistically significant increased medial (Δ 0.99 mm), minimal (Δ 1.04 mm), and mean (Δ 0.68 mm) radiographic joint space width (JSW) was demonstrated. Likewise, medial (Δ 1.03 mm), minimal (Δ 0.72 mm), and mean (Δ 0.46 mm) JSW were statistically significantly increased on radiographs after HTO. There was on average no statistically significant change in dGEMRIC indices over two years and no difference between treatments. Yet there seemed to be a clinically relevant, positive relation between increase in cartilage quality and patients’ experienced clinical benefit.

Conclusions: Treatment of knee OA by either HTO or KJD leads to clinical benefit, and an increase in cartilage thickness on weightbearing radiographs for over 2 years posttreatment. This cartilaginous tissue was on average not different from baseline, as determined by dGEMRIC, whereas changes in quality at the individual level correlated with clinical benefit.

  1. Synovial fluid hyaluronan mediates MSC attachment to cartilage, a potential novel

mechanism contributing to cartilage repair in osteoarthritis using knee joint distraction.

Baboolal TG, Mastbergen SC, Jones E, Calder SJ, Lafeber FP, McGonagle D.

Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. 2016; 75(5): 908-15.

Objective: Knee joint distraction (KJD) is a novel, but poorly understood, treatment for osteoarthritis (OA) associated with remarkable 'spontaneous' cartilage repair in which resident synovial fluid (SF) multipotential mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) may play a role. We hypothesised that SF hyaluronic acid (HA) inhibited the initial interaction between MSCs and cartilage, a key first step to integration, and postulate that KJD environment favoured MSC/cartilage interactions.

Methods: Attachment of dual-labelled SF-MSCs were assessed in a novel in vitro human cartilage model using OA and rheumatoid arthritic (RA) SF. SF was digested with hyaluronidase (hyase) and its effect on adhesion was observed using confocal microscopy. MRI and microscopy were used to image autologous dual-labelled MSCs in an in vivo canine model of KJD. SF-HA was investigated using gel electrophoresis and densitometry.

Results: Osteoarthritic-synovial fluid (OA-SF) and purified high molecular weight (MW) HA inhibited SF-MSC adhesion to plastic, while hyase treatment of OA-SF but not RA-SF significantly increased MSC adhesion to cartilage (3.7-fold, p<0.05) These differences were linked to the SF mediated HA-coat which was larger in OA-SF than in RA-SF. OA-SF contained >9 MDa HA and this correlated with increases in adhesion (r=0.880). In the canine KJD model, MSC adhesion to cartilage was evident and also dependent on HA MW.

Conclusions: These findings highlight an unappreciated role of SF-HA on MSC interactions and provide proof of concept that endogenous SF-MSCs are capable of adhering to cartilage in a favourable biochemical and biomechanical environment in OA distracted joints, offering novel one-stage strategies towards joint repair.