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Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2004 Oct;12(10):818-25.

The potential and limitations of cartilage-specific (V+C)(-) fibronectin and cartilage oligomeric matrix protein as osteoarthritis biomarkers in canine synovial fluid.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.



To determine if levels of the cartilage-specific (V+C)(-) fibronectin isoform in the synovial fluid is associated with cartilage change during osteoarthritis.


Synovial fluid was collected from 26 healthy dogs presenting to the Orthopedic Surgery Clinic with unilateral cranial cruciate rupture, 22 control dogs, and 13 dogs from a colony maintained for the study of canine hip dysplasia. Total fibronectin, (V+C)(-) fibronectin, and cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) were quantitated by ELISA assays. Statistical analysis used Wilcoxon's signed-rank and rank-sum tests and Spearman's rank correlation.


The concentration of total fibronectin was increased in affected (P<0.0001) and contralateral (P=0.0005) knees of the clinic population (compared to unaffected knees in colony controls). Both (V+C)(-) fibronectin and COMP concentrations were elevated in the contralateral knees in clinical patients relative to unaffected knees in the colony controls (P=0.03 and P=0.04, respectively), and relative to the affected knees (P=0.003); however, corrections for joint effusions suggest elevated totals in the affected knees. (V+C)(-) fibronectin and COMP concentrations were correlated (r(sp)=0.74; P<0.0001) in 30 unaffected knees of patients and colony controls. Total fibronectin was correlated negatively with months since the initial injury (r(sp)=-0.44; P=0.03) in the affected joints. The intraoperative lesion severity score did not correlate with total fibronectin or (V+C)(-) fibronectin (P>or=0.35).


Concentration of total fibronectin in synovial fluid might be a useful biomarker for cross-sectional studies in osteoarthritis, but only (V+C)(-) fibronectin provides information specifically about cartilage damage. Elevated concentrations of (V+C)(-) fibronectin and COMP seen in the contralateral knees of patients with cranial cruciate rupture might indicate cartilage changes early in the disease process (pre-clinical). However, the wide range of values obtained limits the diagnostic value for any one individual. Joint effusions obscure the total amount of biomarkers in affected synovial joints.

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