Osteochondral angiogenesis in rat mandibular condyles with osteoarthritis-like changes

Qing-Yu Wang, Juan Dai, Bin Kuang, Jie Zhang, Shi-Bin Yu, Yin-Zhong Duan, Mei-Qing Wang
Archives of Oral Biology 2012, 57 (6): 620-9

OBJECTIVE: To investigate angiogenesis at the osteochondral junction and changes in expression of pro- and anti-angiogenic factors in rat mandibular condyles with osteoarthritis-like changes.

METHODS: In order to evoke osteoarthritis-like lesions in mandibular condyles, disordered occlusion was created experimentally in rats. Osteochondral vascularity was assessed histologically at 20 and 24 weeks. Protein and mRNA levels of pro-angiogenic factors including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) and matrix metalloproteases 9 (MMP9), and anti-angiogenic factor chondromodulin-I (CHM-I) were investigated by means of immunohistochemical staining and real-time PCR.

RESULTS: Osteochondral angiogenesis was demonstrated as increased numbers of vascular channels terminating in the calcified cartilage and non-calcified cartilage in 20- and 24-week experimental groups compared with controls (all P<0.05). In the experimental groups, VEGF, CTGF and MMP9 were highly expressed in the tissues adjacent to the osteochondral junction. However, CHM-I was more expressed in the superior but not deep hypertrophic chondrocytes. Compared to their age-matched controls, the protein levels of VEGF and CTGF were higher in 20-week experimental group, and the protein and mRNA levels of CTGF, MMP-9, and CHM-I increased in the 24-week experimental group (all P<0.05).

CONCLUSION: In the present rat model, osteochondral angiogenesis was observed in mandibular condyles with osteoarthritis-like changes, accompanied with local upregulation of VEGF, CTGF and MMP9. Although the increase in CHM-I may moderate pro-angiogenic factors effects in the superior cartilage, the deficiency of deep hypertrophic chondrocytes to express CHM-I may permit vascular invasion into condylar cartilage.

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