Study Title:

Telomeres, aging of articular cartilage, and the development of human hip osteoarthritis.

Study Abstract

Ultra-short telomeres caused by stress-induced telomere shortening are suggested to induce chondrocyte senescence in human osteoarthritic knees. Here we have further investigated the role of ultra-short telomeres in the development of osteoarthritis (OA) and in aging of articular cartilage in human hips.

Cartilage was obtained from four different distances of the central weight-bearing area in human femoral heads (14 OA and 9 non-OA). Samples were split into three: one for quantification of ultra-short single telomeres by Universal STELA and mean telomere length measurement by Q-PCR; one for histological grading of OA, and one for immunohistochemical staining.

Load of ultra-short telomeres increased closer to the central weight-bearing area and correlated with cartilage degradation in both OA and non-OA samples. Mean telomere length decreased with decreasing distance to the central weight-bearing area, however, unexpectedly increased in the most central zone. This increase was associated with immunohistochemical findings of cells expressing markers characteristic of progenitor-like cells.

These findings suggest a role of short telomeres in the development of OA and in aging of articular cartilage. Furthermore, progenitor-like cells with long telomeres may be recruited to the most damaged areas of the cartilage.

Study Information

Harbo M, Delaisse JM, Kjaersgaard-Andersen P, Soerensen FB, Koelvraa S, Bendix L
The relationship between ultra-short telomeres, aging of articular cartilage and the development of human hip osteoarthritis.
Mech Ageing Dev
2013 September
Institute of Regional Health Research, University of Southern Denmark.

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