Tsu-Te Yeh, Zhi-Hong Wen, Herng-Sheng Lee, Chian-Her Lee, Zhi Yang, Yen-Hsuan Jean, Shing-Sheng Wu, Marcel E. Nimni, Bo Han

May 2008, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 734 - 742 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-008-0594-0

First Online: 26 January 2008

We aimed to establish an animal model to investigate primary osteoarthritis of the lumbar facet joints after collagenase injection in rats and its effects on chondrocyte apoptosis. We hypothesized that osteoarthritic-like changes would be induced by collagenase injection and that apoptosis of chondrocytes would increase. Collagenase (1, 10, or 50 U) or saline (control) was injected into the lumbar facet joints. The histology and histochemistry of cartilage, synovium, and subchondral bone were examined at 1, 3, and 6 weeks after surgery. Apoptotic cells induced by 1 U of collagenase were quantified using the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labelling (TUNEL) assay. Degeneration of the cartilage and changes to the synovium and subchondral bone were dependent on both the doses of collagenase and the time after surgery. There were significantly more apoptotic chondrocytes in collagenase-treated joints than in control (P 

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