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Open Access Spontaneous Osteoarthritis in Dunkin Hartley Guinea Pigs: Histologic, Radiologic, and Biochemical Changes

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Dunkin Hartley guinea pigs develop spontaneous, age-related osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee and other joints. Histologic changes are observed beginning at 3 months of age. Disease severity increases with age, and at 18 months moderate to severe OA is observed. A study was undertaken to assess the morphologic and biochemical changes of 22-month-old animals, and to compare them with values in 2-month-old guinea pigs. Biochemical indices characteristic of OA, from tibial cartilage, indicated an increase in proteoglycan content from 233 ± 2 g/mg (mean ± SEM) at 2 months of age to 365 ± 6 g/mg at 22 months. Collagen concentration in cartilage decreased from 364 ± 2 g/mg at 2 months to 223 ± 3 g/mg at 22 months. Proteoglycan fragments found in synovial fluid measured 4.6 ± 1 g/ml at 2 months and increased to 37 ± 2 g/ml at 22 months. Radiographic changes observed at 22 months included marginal osteophytes of the tibia and femur, sclerosis of the subchondral bone of the tibial plateau, femoral condyle cysts, and calcification of the collateral ligaments. Histologic evaluation revealed severe OA, with a Mankin score of 10.7 ± 0.5 in 22-month-old animals. In contrast, 2-month-old animals had no histologic or radiographically detectable lesions. The results of the study reported here indicate that the lesions observed in this model are similar to those of human OA. Spontaneous development of OA in guinea pigs is amenable to the study of the pathogenesis of OA and to the evaluation of potential disease-modifying agents.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: OsteoArthritis Sciences, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts, Human Genome Sciences, Inc., 9410 Key West Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850 2: OsteoArthritis Sciences, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts

Publication date: December 1, 1997

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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