Significant synovial pathology in a meniscectomy model of osteoarthritis: modification by intra-articular hyaluronan therapy

IA therapy with hyaluronan (HA) is reported to provide symptomatic relief and disease modification in OA. This study assessed the pathological changes in the synovium of an ovine model of OA and evaluated the effects of two HA preparations on this pathology.  Eighteen sheep had bilateral lateral meniscectomy to induce OA. Four months post-surgery animals received IA saline or HA weekly for 5 weeks or three injections of an amide derivative of HA every 2 weeks. Pathological change were higher in OA joint synovia compared with controls, with individual measures of subintimal fibrosis and vascularity predominantly affected. Depth of intimal fibrosis was also significantly higher in meniscectomized joints.

Increased fibrosis and vascularity are hallmarks of pathological change in synovium in this meniscectomy model of OA. Both the IA HA and an amide derivative of HA reduced aspects of this pathology thus providing a potential mechanism for improving joint mobility and function in OA.

Rheumatology, 2008 47(8), 1172-1178

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