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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 284873, 10 pages
Review Article

The Role of Changes in Extracellular Matrix of Cartilage in the Presence of Inflammation on the Pathology of Osteoarthritis

1Department of Bioengineering, University of California, 900 University Avenue, Riverside, CA 92521, USA
2Center for Bioengineering Research, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA

Received 3 June 2013; Revised 27 July 2013; Accepted 29 July 2013

Academic Editor: Martin Götte

Copyright © 2013 Maricela Maldonado and Jin Nam. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative disease that affects various tissues surrounding joints such as articular cartilage, subchondral bone, synovial membrane, and ligaments. No therapy is currently available to completely prevent the initiation or progression of the disease partly due to poor understanding of the mechanisms of the disease pathology. Cartilage is the main tissue afflicted by OA, and chondrocytes, the sole cellular component in the tissue, actively participate in the degeneration process. Multiple factors affect the development and progression of OA including inflammation that is sustained during the progression of the disease and alteration in biomechanical conditions due to wear and tear or trauma in cartilage. During the progression of OA, extracellular matrix (ECM) of cartilage is actively remodeled by chondrocytes under inflammatory conditions. This alteration of ECM, in turn, changes the biomechanical environment of chondrocytes, which further drives the progression of the disease in the presence of inflammation. The changes in ECM composition and structure also prevent participation of mesenchymal stem cells in the repair process by inhibiting their chondrogenic differentiation. This review focuses on how inflammation-induced ECM remodeling disturbs cellular activities to prevent self-regeneration of cartilage in the pathology of OA.