Background: Dietary fatty acid (FA) content has been shown to influence the development of post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA) in obesity. We used the fat-1 transgenic mouse to examine the hypothesis that endogenous reduction of ω-6 to ω-3 FA ratio, under the same dietary conditions, would mitigate metabolic inflammation and the pathogenesis of PTOA in obese male and female mice. Methods: Male and female fat-1 and wild-type littermates were fed either a control diet or an ω-6 FA-rich high-fat diet and underwent destabilization of the medial meniscus (DMM) surgery to induce PTOA. OA severity, synovitis, and osteophyte formation were determined histologically, while biomarker and lipidomic analyses were performed to evaluate levels of adipokines, insulin, pro-/anti-inflammatory cytokines, and FAs in serum and joint synovial fluid. Multivariable models were performed to elucidate the associations of dietary, metabolic, and mechanical factors with PTOA. Results: We found that elevated serum levels of ω-3 FAs in fat-1 mice as compared to wild-type controls fed the same diet resulted in reduced OA and synovitis in a sex-and diet-dependent manner, despite comparable body weights. The fat-1 mice showed trends toward decreased serum pro-inflammatory cytokines and increased anti-inflammatory cytokines. Multivariable analysis for variables predicting OA severity in mice resulted in correlations with serum FA levels, but not with body weight. Conclusions: This study provides further evidence that circulating FA composition and systemic metabolic inflammation, rather than body weight, may be the major risk factor for obesity-associated OA. We also demonstrate the potential genetic use of ω-3 FA desaturase in mitigating PTOA in obese patients following injury.

Original languageEnglish
Article number83
JournalArthritis Research and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 15 2020


  • Adipocytokine
  • Arthritis
  • Cartilage
  • Diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome


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