Data_Sheet_1_The Pathobiology of the Meniscus: A Comparison Between the Human and Dog.docx

Serious knee pain and related disability have an annual prevalence of approximately 25% on those over the age of 55 years. As curative treatments for the common knee problems are not available to date, knee pathologies typically progress and often lead to osteoarthritis (OA). While the roles that the meniscus plays in knee biomechanics are well characterized, biological mechanisms underlying meniscus pathophysiology and roles in knee pain and OA progression are not fully clear. Experimental treatments for knee disorders that are successful in animal models often produce unsatisfactory results in humans due to species differences or the inability to fully replicate disease progression in experimental animals. The use of animals with spontaneous knee pathologies, such as dogs, can significantly help addressing this issue. As microscopic and macroscopic anatomy of the canine and human menisci are similar, spontaneous meniscal pathologies in canine patients are thought to be highly relevant for translational medicine. However, it is not clear whether the biomolecular mechanisms of pain, degradation of extracellular matrix, and inflammatory responses are species dependent. The aims of this review are (1) to provide an overview of the anatomy, physiology, and pathology of the human and canine meniscus, (2) to compare the known signaling pathways involved in spontaneous meniscus pathology between both species, and (3) to assess the relevance of dogs with spontaneous meniscal pathology as a translational model. Understanding these mechanisms in human and canine meniscus can help to advance diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for painful knee disorders and improve clinical decision making.