Osteoarthritis (OA) is the leading cause of physical disability, predicted to affect 67 million people in the United States by 2030 and is the most common degenerative joint disorders. There is no effective treatment for OA until the end-stage of the disease necessitating joint replacement. Despite the significant progress made in the investigation of articular cartilage degeneration at relative late stage of OA, little is known abot the onset pathomechanisms of OA. Currently, most of the efforts that are investigating the mechanism of articular cartilage degeneration in OA are in the late stage of OA. In this revised proposal, we have demonstrated that inducible knockout of TGF?type II receptor in the nestin+ MSCs prevents degeneration of articular cartilage in the mouse anterior cruciate ligament transection (ACLT) joints;administration of TGF? antibody in the subchondral bone reduces articular cartilage degeneration in rat ACLT joints and systemically injection of T?RI inhibitor also rescued guinea pig spontaneous OA. These results suggest that high levels of active TGF?1 in the subchondral bone are the onset pathological changes in ACLT animal models, guinea pig spontaneous OA and human knee OA. Particularly, protection of guinea pig spontaneous OA by T?RI inhibitor integrate the observation of high levels of active TGF? in the subchondral bone in the knee joints of OA patient and the data from ACLT animal models. Thus, activation of TGF? in the subchondral bone represents onset of OA development. Thus, specific inhibition of TGF? activity in the subchondral bone could lead to an effective therapy for OA. Therefore, we hypothesize that high levels of active TGF? in the subchondral bone induce pathological changes of OA. In this proposed study, we will focus on the initial events during development of OA and will investigate the effects of TGF?-induced microenvironment changes of MSCs and osteoprogenitors on the changes of osteochondral junction using inducible nestin/cre/GFP/ROSA26 or osterix/cre/GFP/ROSA26 mice, in which the changes of GFP-positive nestin+ MSCs and osterix+ osteoprogenitors will be traced during development of OA in ACLT mice. We will also examine the role of TGF? in the subchondral bone and articular cartilage of human OA knee joints. The effects of inhibition of TGF? activity in the subchondral bone on rat ACLT OA and spontaneous guinea pig OA joints will be systematically studied.

Public Health Relevance

OA is the most common degenerative joint disorders, and there is no effective treatment for OA until the end- stage of the disease necessitating joint replacement. We found that high levels of active TGF? in the subchondral bone induce changes of osteochondral junction as the onset of OA development. TGF?1 antibody specifically administrated in the subchondral bone may attenuate the initial pathological changes during OA development as an effective therapy for OA.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Skeletal Biology Structure and Regeneration Study Section (SBSR)
Program Officer
Tyree, Bernadette
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Johns Hopkins University
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Cui, Zhuang; Crane, Janet; Xie, Hui et al. (2016) Halofuginone attenuates osteoarthritis by inhibition of TGF-β activity and H-type vessel formation in subchondral bone. Ann Rheum Dis 75:1714-21
Bian, Qin; Jain, Amit; Xu, Xin et al. (2016) Excessive Activation of TGFβ by Spinal Instability Causes Vertebral Endplate Sclerosis. Sci Rep 6:27093
Xie, Liang; Tintani, Francis; Wang, Xiao et al. (2016) Systemic neutralization of TGF-β attenuates osteoarthritis. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1376:53-64
Qiu, Tao; Xian, Lingling; Crane, Janet et al. (2015) PTH receptor signaling in osteoblasts regulates endochondral vascularization in maintenance of postnatal growth plate. J Bone Miner Res 30:309-17
Xu, Xin; Zheng, Liwei; Bian, Qin et al. (2015) Aberrant Activation of TGF-β in Subchondral Bone at the Onset of Rheumatoid Arthritis Joint Destruction. J Bone Miner Res 30:2033-43
Waning, David L; Mohammad, Khalid S; Reiken, Steven et al. (2015) Excess TGF-β mediates muscle weakness associated with bone metastases in mice. Nat Med 21:1262-71
Zhen, Gehua; Cao, Xu (2014) Targeting TGFβ signaling in subchondral bone and articular cartilage homeostasis. Trends Pharmacol Sci 35:227-36
Crane, Janet L; Cao, Xu (2014) Function of matrix IGF-1 in coupling bone resorption and formation. J Mol Med (Berl) 92:107-15
Xie, Hui; Cui, Zhuang; Wang, Long et al. (2014) PDGF-BB secreted by preosteoclasts induces angiogenesis during coupling with osteogenesis. Nat Med 20:1270-8
Zhen, Gehua; Wen, Chunyi; Jia, Xiaofeng et al. (2013) Inhibition of TGF-β signaling in mesenchymal stem cells of subchondral bone attenuates osteoarthritis. Nat Med 19:704-12