Runx2 may play an important role in development of osteoarthritis (OA). However, the specific role of Runx2 in articular chondrocyte function and in OA development in adult mice has not been fully defined. In this study, we performed the destabilization of the medial meniscus (DMM) surgery at 12-week-old mice to induce OA in adult Runx2 Agc1CreER mice, in which Runx2 was specifically deleted in Aggrecan-expressing chondrocytes by administering tamoxifen at 8-weeks of age. Knee joint samples were collected 8-and 12-weeks post-surgery and analyzed through histology, histomorphometry and micro-computed tomography (μCT). Our results showed that severe OA-like defects were observed after DMM surgery in Cre-negative control mice, including articular cartilage degradation and subchondral sclerosis, while the defects were significantly ameliorated in Runx2 Agc1CreER KO mice. Immunohistochemical (IHC) results showed significantly reduced expression of MMP13 in Runx2 Agc1CreER KO mice compared to that in Cre-negative control mice. Results of quantitative reverse-Transcription PCR (qRT-PCR) demonstrated that expression of the genes encoding for matrix degradation enzymes was significantly decreased in Runx2 Agc1CreER KO mice. Thus, our findings suggest that inhibition of Runx2 in chondrocytes could at least partially rescue DMM-induced OA-like defects in adult mice.
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