Articular cartilage and changes in arthritis An introduction: Cell biology of osteoarthritis

Linda J. Sandell, Thomas Aigner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

698 Scopus citations


The reaction patterns of chondrocytes in osteoarthritis can be summarized in five categories: (1) proliferation and cell death (apoptosis); changes in (2) synthetic activity and (3) degradation; (4) phenotypic modulation of the articular chondrocytes; and (5) formation of osteophytes. In osteoarthritis, the primary responses are reinitiation of synthesis of cartilage macromolecules, the initiation of synthesis of types IIA and III procollagens as markers of a more primitive phenotype, and synthesis of active proteolytic enzymes. Reversion to a fibroblast-like phenotype, known as 'dedifferentiation', does not appear to be an important component. Proliferation plays a role in forming characteristic chondrocyte clusters near the surface, while apoptosis probably occurs primarily in the calcified cartilage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-113
Number of pages7
JournalArthritis Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


  • Cartilage
  • Cell biology
  • Chondrocyte phenotype
  • Osteoarthritis


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