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Dev Dyn. 2008 Aug;237(8):2013-20. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.21501.

Primary cilia in osteoarthritic chondrocytes: from chondrons to clusters.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy with Radiology, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common joint disease characterized by articular cartilage degeneration. The etiology of OA is unknown. Because several previous studies have shown that primary cilia play critical roles in joint development, this study examined the incidence and morphology of primary cilia in chondrocytes during joint degeneration in a naturally occurring bovine model of OA. Primary cilia were detected using antibodies to acetylated alpha-tubulin in normal cartilage as well as in mild and severe OA tissue. In normal cartilage, cilia number and length were lowest in the superficial zone and increased with distance from the articular surface. In OA tissue, the incidence and length of cilia increased at the eroding articulating surface, resulting in an overall increased proportion of cilia. This is the first study to show that primary cilia are present on chondrocytes throughout OA progression and that the overall percentage of ciliated cells within the degenerating cartilage increases with OA severity.

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