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Histochem Cell Biol. 2004 Sep;122(3):229-36. Epub 2004 Aug 17.

Expression of collagen type I and type II in consecutive stages of human osteoarthritis.

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  • 1Zentrum Anatomie, Abt. Histologie, Georg-August-Universitaet, Kreuzbergring 36, 37075, Goettingen, Germany.


In normal hyaline cartilage the predominant collagen type is collagen type II along with its associated collagens, for example, types IX and XI, produced by normal chondrocytes. In contrast, investigations have demonstrated that in vitro a switch from collagen type II to collagen type I occurs. Some authors have detected collagen type I in osteoarthritic cartilage also in vivo, especially in late stages of osteoarthritis, while others have not. In the light of these diverging results, we have attempted to elucidate which type of collagen, type I and/or type II, is synthesized in the consecutive stages of human osteoarthritis. We performed in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry with cartilage tissue samples from patients suffering from various stages of osteoarthritis. Furthermore, we quantitated our results on the gene expression of collagen type I and type II with the help of real-time PCR. We found that with the progression of the disease not only collagen type II, but also increasing amounts of collagen type I mRNA were produced. This supports the conclusion that collagen type I gradually becomes one of the factors involved in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis.

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