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Analysis of normal and osteoarthritic canine cartilage mRNA expression by quantitative polymerase chain reaction

Dylan N Clements12*, Stuart D Carter1, John F Innes1, William ER Ollier2 and Philip JR Day2

Author Affiliations

1 The Musculoskeletal Research Group, c/o Department of Veterinary Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, L69 3BX, UK

2 Centre for Integrated Genomic Medical Research, The Stopford Building, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PT, UK

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2006, 8:R158  doi:10.1186/ar2053

Published: 10 October 2006


The molecular basis to mammalian osteoarthritis (OA) is unknown. We hypothesised that the expression of selected proteases, matrix molecules, and collagens believed to have a role in the pathogenesis of OA would be changed in naturally occurring canine OA cartilage when compared to normal articular cartilage. Quantitative (real-time) reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction assays were designed measuring the expression of selected matrix molecules (collagens and small leucine-rich proteoglycans), key mediators of the proteolytic degradation of articular cartilage (metalloproteinases, cathepsins), and their inhibitors (tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases). All data were normalised using a geometric mean of three housekeeping genes, and the results subjected to power calculations and corrections for multiple hypothesis testing. We detected increases in the expression of BGN, COL1A2, COL2A1, COL3A1, COL5A1, CSPG2, CTSB, CTSD, LUM, MMP13, TIMP1, and TNC in naturally occurring canine OA. The expression of TIMP2 and TIMP4 was significantly reduced in canine OA cartilage. The patterns of gene expression change observed in naturally occurring canine OA were similar to those reported in naturally occurring human OA and experimental canine OA. We conclude that the expression profiles of matrix-associated molecules in end-stage mammalian OA may be comparable but that the precise aetiologies of OA affecting specific joints in different species are presently unknown.