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J Orthop Res. 2016 Mar;34(3):404-11. doi: 10.1002/jor.23033. Epub 2015 Sep 8.

Identification of novel osteochondrosis--Associated genes.

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Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia.
Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.


During the early stages of articular osteochondrosis, cartilage is retained in subchondral bone, but the pathophysiology of this condition of growing humans and domestic animals is poorly understood. A subtractive hybridization study was undertaken to compare gene expression between the cartilage of early experimentally induced equine osteochondrosis lesions and control cartilage. Of the many putative differentially expressed genes identified, eight were confirmed by quantitative PCR analysis as differentially expressed, in addition to those already known to be associated with early lesions. Genes encoding vacuolar H(+)-ATPase V0 subunit d2 (ATP6V0D2), cathepsin K, integrin-binding sialoprotein, integrin αV, low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 4, lumican, osteopontin, and thymosin β4 (TMSB4) were expressed at higher levels in lesions than in control cartilage. These genes included 34 genes not previously identified in cartilage. Some genes identified as associated with early lesions are known chondrocyte hypertrophy-associated genes, and in transmission electron microscopy studies normal hypertrophic chondrocytes were observed in lesions. Differential expression of ATP6V0D2 and TMSB4 in the cartilage of early naturally occurring osteochondrosis lesions was confirmed by immunohistochemistry. These results identify novel osteochondrosis-associated genes and provide evidence that articular osteochondrosis does not necessarily result from failure of chondrocytes to undergo hypertrophy.


ATP6V0D2; chondrocyte; osteochondrosis; thymosin β4

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