Tenascin-C Prevents Articular Cartilage Degeneration in Murine Osteoarthritis Models

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The objective of this study was to determine whether intra-articular injections of tenascin-C (TNC) could prevent cartilage damage in murine models of osteoarthritis (OA).


Fluorescently labeled TNC was injected into knee joints and its distribution was examined at 1 day, 4 days, 1 week, 2 weeks, and 4 weeks postinjection. To investigate the effects of TNC on cartilage degeneration after surgery to knee joints, articular spaces were filled with 100 μg/mL (group I), 10 μg/mL (group II) of TNC solution, or control (group III). TNC solution of 10 μg/mL was additionally injected twice after 3 weeks (group IV) or weekly after 1 week, 2 weeks, and 3 weeks (group V). Joint tissues were histologically assessed using the Mankin score and the modified Chambers system at 2 to 8 weeks after surgery.


Exogenous TNC was maintained in the cartilage and synovium for 1 week after administration. Histological scores in groups I and II were better than scores in group III at 4 and 6 weeks, but progressive cartilage damage was seen in all groups 8 weeks postoperatively. Sequential TNC injections (groups IV and V) showed significantly better Mankin score than single injection (group II) at 8 weeks.


TNC administered exogenously remained in the cartilage of knee joints for 1 week, and could decelerate articular cartilage degeneration in murine models of OA. We also showed that sequential administration of TNC was more effective than a single injection. TNC could be an important molecule for prevention of articular cartilage damage.

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