Table1_Engineered Human Meniscus in Modeling Sex Differences of Knee Osteoarthritis in Vitro.DOCX (14.29 kB)
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Table1_Engineered Human Meniscus in Modeling Sex Differences of Knee Osteoarthritis in Vitro.DOCX

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posted on 15.02.2022, 04:26 authored by Zhiyao Ma, David Xinzheyang Li, Melanie Kunze, Aillette Mulet-Sierra, Lindsey Westover, Adetola B. Adesida

Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) primarily affects mechanical load-bearing joints. The knee joint is the most impacted by OA. Knee OA (KOA) occurs in almost all demographic groups, but the prevalence and severity are disproportionately higher in females. The molecular mechanism underlying the pathogenesis and progression of KOA is unknown. The molecular basis of biological sex matters of KOA is not fully understood. Mechanical stimulation plays a vital role in modulating OA-related responses of load-bearing tissues. Mechanical unloading by simulated microgravity (SMG) induced OA-like gene expression in engineered cartilage, while mechanical loading by cyclic hydrostatic pressure (CHP), on the other hand, exerted a pro-chondrogenic effect. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of mechanical loading and unloading via CHP and SMG, respectively, on the OA-related profile changes of engineered meniscus tissues and explore biological sex-related differences.

Methods: Tissue-engineered menisci were made from female and male meniscus fibrochondrocytes (MFCs) under static conditions of normal gravity in chondrogenic media and subjected to SMG and CHP culture. Constructs were assayed via histology, immunofluorescence, GAG/DNA assays, RNA sequencing, and testing of mechanical properties.

Results: The mRNA expression of ACAN and COL2A1, was upregulated by CHP but downregulated by SMG. COL10A1, a marker for chondrocyte hypertrophy, was downregulated by CHP compared to SMG. Furthermore, CHP increased GAG/DNA levels and wet weight in both female and male donors, but only significantly in females. From the transcriptomics, CHP and SMG significantly modulated genes related to the ossification, regulation of ossification, extracellular matrix, and angiogenesis Gene Ontology (GO) terms. A clear difference in fold-change magnitude and direction was seen between the two treatments for many of the genes. Furthermore, differences in fold-change magnitudes were seen between male and female donors within each treatment. SMG and CHP also significantly modulated genes in OA-related KEGG pathways, such as mineral absorption, Wnt signalling pathway, and HIF-1 signalling pathway.

Conclusion: Engineered menisci responded to CHP and SMG in a sex-dependent manner. SMG may induce an OA-like profile, while CHP promotes chondrogenesis. The combination of SMG and CHP could serve as a model to study the early molecular events of KOA and potential drug-targetable pathways.