UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications

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Department of Orthopedics and Physical Rehabilitation; School of Medicine

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Musculoskeletal Diseases | Orthopedics


Age is the primary risk factor for osteoarthritis (OA), yet surgical OA mouse models such as destabilization of the medial meniscus (DMM) used for evaluating disease-modifying OA targets are frequently performed on young adult mice only. This study investigates how age affects cartilage and subchondral bone changes in mouse joints following DMM. DMM was performed on male C57BL/6 mice at 4 months (4 M), 12 months (12 M) and 19+ months (19 M+) and on females at 12 M and 18 M+. Two months after surgery, operated and unoperated contralateral knees were harvested and evaluated using cartilage histology scores and muCT quantification of subchondral bone plate thickness and osteophyte formation. The 12 M and 19 M+ male mice developed more cartilage erosions and thicker subchondral bone plates after DMM than 4 M males. The size of osteophytes trended up with age, while the bone volume fraction was significantly higher in the 19 M+ group. Furthermore, 12 M females developed milder OA than males as indicated by less cartilage degradation, less subchondral bone plate sclerosis and smaller osteophytes. Our results reveal distinct age/gender-dependent structural changes in joint cartilage and subchondral bone post-DMM, facilitating more thoughtful selection of murine age/gender when using this surgical technique for translational OA research.


Animal disease models, Experimental models of disease, Osteoarthritis

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© The Author(s) 2017.

DOI of Published Version



Sci Rep. 2017 Feb 9;7:42294. doi: 10.1038/srep42294. Link to article on publisher's site

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.