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Sexual dimorphism in the osteoarthritis of STR/ort mice may be linked to articular cytokines
  1. S Mahr1,
  2. J Menard1,
  3. V Krenn2,
  4. B Müller1
  1. 1Deutsches RheumaForschungs-Zentrum, Berlin, Germany
  2. 2Institute for Pathology, Charité, Berlin, Germany
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr B Müller
    Deutsches RheumaForschungs Zentrum Berlin, Schumannstr 21/22, 10117 Berlin, Germany;


Background: STR/ort mice spontaneously develop degenerative changes of the knee joints resembling human osteoarthritis (OA), with the males being more severely affected than the females.

Objective: To analyse the early changes leading to OA by examining the articular cytokine expression and degenerative changes in STR/ort mice.

Methods: 122 STR/ort mice of both sexes aged between 2 and 15.5 months were included. Thin sections of the knees were analysed for osteoarthritic changes by haematoxylin/eosin staining. The articular cytokine expression was investigated by immunohistochemical staining using monoclonal antibodies specific for interleukin (IL)6, tumour necrosis factor α, transforming growth factor β1 (TGFβ1), IL1β, IL4, and IL10, respectively.

Results: Both cartilage degeneration and articular cytokine expression differ between the sexes. The protection from cartilage degeneration in the female mice correlates with an increased expression of TGFβ1 and IL4 at 2 months of age.

Conclusion: The increased expression of TGFβ1 and IL4 in young STR/ort female mice suggests that the sexual dimorphism is mediated through the articular expression of cytokines involved in cartilage metabolism.

  • osteoarthritis
  • cytokines
  • mouse model for OA
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