High-fat/high-sucrose diet-induced obesity results in joint-specific development of osteoarthritis-like degeneration in a rat model

K. H. Collins, D. A. Hart, R. A. Seerattan, R. A. Reimer, W. Herzog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objectives Metabolic syndrome and low-grade systemic inflammation are associated with knee osteoarthritis (OA), but the relationships between these factors and OA in other synovial joints are unclear. The aim of this study was to determine if a high-fat/high-sucrose (HFS) diet results in OA-like joint damage in the shoulders, knees, and hips of rats after induction of obesity, and to identify potential joint-specific risks for OA-like changes. Methods A total of 16 male Sprague-Dawley rats were allocated to either the diet-induced obesity group (DIO, 40% fat, 45% sucrose, n = 9) or a chow control diet (n = 7) for 12 weeks. At sacrifice, histological assessments of the shoulder, hip, and knee joints were performed. Serum inflammatory mediators and body composition were also evaluated. The total Mankin score for each animal was assessed by adding together the individual Modified Mankin scores across all three joints. Linear regression modelling was conducted to evaluate predictive relationships between serum mediators and total joint damage. Results The HFS diet, in the absence of trauma, resulted in increased joint damage in the shoulder and knee joints of rats. Hip joint damage, however, was not significantly affected by DIO, consistent with findings in human studies. The total Mankin score was increased in DIO animals compared with the chow group, and was associated with percentage of body fat. Positive significant predictive relationships for total Mankin score were found between body fat and two serum mediators (interleukin 1 alpha (IL-1α) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)). Conclusion Systemic inflammatory alterations from DIO in this model system may result in a higher risk for development of knee, shoulder, and multi-joint damage with a HFS diet.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-281
Number of pages8
JournalBone and Joint Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • Hip
  • Inflammation
  • Knee
  • Shoulder
  • Sprague-Dawley


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