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In vitro and in silico modeling of cellular and matrix-related changes during the early phase of osteoarthritis

  • Understanding the pathophysiological processes of osteoarthritis (OA) require adequate model systems. Although different in vitro or in vivo models have been described, further comprehensive approaches are needed to study specific parts of the disease. This study aimed to combine in vitro and in silico modeling to describe cellular and matrix-related changes during the early phase of OA. We developed an in vitro OA model based on scaffold-free cartilage-like constructs (SFCCs), which was mathematically modeled using a partial differential equation (PDE) system to resemble the processes during the onset of OA. SFCCs were produced from mesenchymal stromal cells and analyzed weekly by histology and qPCR to characterize the cellular and matrix-related composition. To simulate the early phase of OA, SFCCs were treated with interleukin-1β (IL-1β), tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) and examined after 3 weeks or cultivated another 3 weeks without inflammatory cytokines to validate the regeneration potential. Mathematical modeling was performed in parallel to the in vitro experiments. SFCCs expressed cartilage-specific markers, and after stimulation an increased expression of inflammatory markers, matrix degrading enzymes, a loss of collagen II (Col-2) and a reduced cell density was observed which could be partially reversed by retraction of stimulation. Based on the PDEs, the distribution processes within the SFCCs, including those of IL-1β, Col-2 degradation and cell number reduction was simulated. By combining in vitro and in silico methods, we aimed to develop a valid, efficient alternative approach to examine and predict disease progression and new therapeutic strategies.

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Author:Marie-Christin Weber, Lisa Fischer, Alexandra Damerau, Igor Ponomarev, Moritz Pfeiffenberger, Timo Gaber, Sebastian GötschelORCiD, Jens Lang, Susanna RöblitzORCiD, Frank Buttgereit, Rainald Ehrig, Annemarie Lang
Document Type:Article
Parent Title (English):BioRxiv
Year of first publication:2019
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