Models of Osteoarthritis: Relevance and New Insights

Hasmik Jasmine Samvelyan, David Hughes, Craig Stevens, Katherine Ann Staines

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a progressive and disabling musculoskeletal disease affecting millions of people and resulting in major healthcare costs worldwide. It is the most common form of arthritis, characterised by degradation of the articular cartilage, formation of osteophytes, subchondral sclerosis, synovial inflammation and ultimate loss of joint function. Understanding the pathogenesis of OA and its multifactorial aetiology will lead to the development of effective treatments, which are currently lacking. Two-dimensional (2D) in vitro tissue models of OA allow affordable, high-throughput analysis and stringent control over specific variables. However, they are linear in fashion and are not representative of physiological conditions. Recent in vitro studies have adopted three-dimensional (3D) tissue models of OA, which retain the advantages of 2D models and are able to mimic physiological conditions, thereby allowing investigation of additional variables including interactions between the cells and their surrounding extracellular matrix. Numerous spontaneous and induced animal models are used to reproduce the onset and monitor the progression of OA based on the aetiology under investigation. This therefore allows elucidation of the pathogenesis of OA and will ultimately enable the development of novel and specific therapeutic interventions. This review summarises the current understanding of in vitro and in vivo OA models in the context of disease pathophysiology, classification and relevance, thus providing new insights and directions for OA research.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalCalcified Tissue International
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2020

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  • 3D cell culture
  • Ex vivo models
  • In vitro models
  • In vivo models
  • Osteoarthritis


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