To test whether intraarticular corticosteroid injection mitigates injury-induced synovitis and collagen degradation after anterior cruciate ligament transection (ACLT) and to characterize the synovial response using a functional genomics approach in a preclinical model of posttraumatic osteoarthritis.Methods.
Yorkshire pigs underwent unilateral ACLT without subsequent corticosteroid injection (the ACLT group; n = 6) or ACLT with immediate injection of 20 mg triamcinolone acetonide (the steroid group; n = 6). A control group of pigs (the intact group; n = 6) did not undergo surgery. Total synovial membrane cellularity and synovial fluid concentration of C1,2C neoepitope–bearing collagen fragments 14 days after injury were primary end points and were compared between the ACLT, steroid, and intact groups. Cells were differentiated by histologic phenotype and counted, while RNA sequencing was used to quantify transcriptome-wide gene expression and monocyte, macrophage, and lymphocyte markers.Results.
In the intact group, total cellularity was 13% (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 9–16) and the C1,2C concentration was 0.24 μg/ml (95% CI 0.08–0.39). In the ACLT group, significant increases were observed in total cellularity (to 21% [95% CI 16–27]) and C1,2C concentration (to 0.49 μg/ml [95% CI 0.39–0.59]). Compared to values in the ACLT group, total cellularity in the steroid group was nonsignificantly decreased to 17% (95% CI 15–18) (P= 0.26) and C1,2C concentration in the steroid group was significantly decreased to 0.29 μg/ml (95% CI 0.23–0.35) (P= 0.04). A total of 255 protein-coding transcripts were differentially expressed between the ACLT group and the intact group. These genes mainly enriched pathways related to cellular immune response, proteolysis, and angiogenesis. Mononuclear leukocytes were the dominant cell type in cell-dense areas.MARCO,SOCS3,CCR1,IL4R, andMMP2expression was significantly associated with C1,2C levels.Conclusion.
Early intraarticular immunosuppression mitigated injury-induced increases in collagen fragments, an outcome better predicted by specific marker expression than by histologic measures of synovitis.