Protease-activated receptor 2: a novel pathogenic pathway in a murine model of osteoarthritis

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Ferrell, W.R. ; Kelso, E.B. ; Lockhart, J.C. ; Plevin, R. ; McInnes, I.B. (2010)

<b>Objective:</b> Osteoarthritis is a global clinical challenge for which no effective disease-modifying agents currently exist. This study identified protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR-2) as a novel pathogenic mechanism and potential therapeutic target in osteoarthritis.\ud <br></br>\ud <b>Methods:</b> Experimental osteoarthritis was induced in wild-type and PAR-2-deficient mice by sectioning the medial meniscotibial ligament (MMTL), leading to the development of a mild arthropathy. Cartilage degradation and increased subchondral bone formation were assessed as indicators of osteoarthritis pathology.\ud <br></br>\ud <b>Results:</b> Four weeks following MMTL section, cartilage erosion and increased subchondral bone formation was evident in wild-type mice but was substantially reduced in PAR-2-deficient mice. Crucially, the therapeutic inhibition of PAR-2 in wild-type mice, using either a PAR-2 antagonist or a monoclonal antibody targeting the protease cleavage site of PAR-2, was also equally effective at reducing osteoarthritis progression in vivo. PAR-2 was upregulated in chondrocytes of wild-type but not sham-operated mice. Wild-type mice showed further joint degradation 8 weeks after the induction of osteoarthritis, but PAR-2-deficient mice were still protected.\ud <br></br>\ud <b>Conclusions:</b> The substantial protection from pathology afforded by PAR-2 deficiency following the induction of osteoarthritis provides proof of concept that PAR-2 plays a key role in osteoarthritis and suggests this receptor as a potential therapeutic target.
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