The influence of mechanical compression on the induction of osteoarthritis-related biomarkers in articular cartilage explants

J. L. Piscoya, B. Fermor, V. B. Kraus, T. V. Stabler, Farshid Guilak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Objective: Macromolecules of the articular cartilage extracellular matrix released into synovial fluid, blood, or urine can serve as potentially useful biomarkers of the severity of osteoarthritis (OA). Biomechanical factors play an important role in OA pathogenesis, yet their influence on biomarker production is not well understood. The goal of this study was to examine the hypothesis that dynamic mechanical stress influences the release of these biomarkers from articular cartilage. Methods: Explants of porcine cartilage were subjected to dynamic compression at 0.5 Hz for 24 h at stresses ranging from 0.006 to 0.1 MPa. The concentrations of cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP), keratan sulfate (KS measured as the 5D4 epitope), total sulfated glycosaminoglycan (S-GAG), and the KS (keratanase-digestible) and chondroitin sulfate (CS) (chondroitinase-digestible) fractions of S-GAG were measured. Radiolabel incorporation was used to determine the rates of proteoglycan and protein synthesis. Results: The magnitudes of mechanical stress applied in this study induced nominal tissue strains of 4-23%, consistent with a range of physiological to hyperphysiologic strains measured in situ. COMP release increased in proportion to the magnitude of dynamic mechanical stress, while KS, CS and total S-GAG release increased in a bimodal pattern with increasing stress. Protein and proteoglycan synthesis were significantly decreased at the highest level of stress. Conclusion: Mechanical stress differentially regulates the turnover of distinct pools of cartilage macromolecules. These findings indicate that mechanical factors, independent of exogenous cytokines or other stimulatory factors, can influence the production and release of OA-related biomarkers from articular cartilage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1092-1099
Number of pages8
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Arthritis
  • Biomechanics
  • COMP
  • Cartilage oligomeric matrix protein
  • Chondroitin sulfate
  • Keratan sulfate
  • Mechanical compression
  • Proteoglycan


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