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Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2012 Aug;20(8):940-8. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2012.04.021. Epub 2012 May 8.

The impact of forced joint exercise on lubricin biosynthesis from articular cartilage following ACL transection and intra-articular lubricin's effect in exercised joints following ACL transection.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



To evaluate the impact of forced joint exercise following acute knee injury on lubricin metabolism and its relationship to cartilage degeneration and to assess chondroprotection of a single-dose purified human lubricin injection in exercised injured joints.


Anterior cruciate ligament transection (ACLT) was performed in rats with six experimental groups; 3-week post-ACLT, 3-week post-ACLT + exercise, 5-week post-ACLT, 5-week post-ACLT + exercise, and 5-week post-ACLT + exercise treated with intra-articular phosphate buffered saline (PBS) or lubricin. Joint exercise was achieved using a rotating cylinder at a speed of 6 rpm for 30 min daily, 5 days a week starting 1 week following surgery. Cartilage lubricin expression in injured joints was determined. Histological analyses included Safranin O/Fast Green, activated caspase-3, and lubricin mRNA in-situ hybridization. Assessment of cartilage damage was performed by osteoarthritis research society international (OARSI) modified Mankin scoring and urinary CTXII (uCTXII) levels.


At 3 weeks, lubricin expression in exercised ACLT joints was significantly (P < 0.001) lower compared to ACLT joints. The OARSI scores were significantly (P < 0.001) higher in the ACLT + exercise animals compared to ACLT animals at 5 weeks. Compared to 3-week ACLT, 3-week ACLT + exercise cartilage showed increased caspase-3 staining. Compared to ACLT + exercise and PBS-treated ACLT + exercise, lubricin intra-articular treatment resulted in a significant increase (P < 0.001) in cartilage lubricin gene expression and a reduction (P < 0.05) in uCTXII levels.


Joint exercise resulted in decreased lubricin cartilage expression, increased cartilage degeneration and reduced superficial zone chondrocyte viability in the ACLT joint. Intra-articular lubricin administration ameliorated cartilage damage due to exercise and preserved superficial zone chondrocytes' viability.

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