Kinematic and dynamic gait compensations resulting from knee instability in a rat model of osteoarthritis.


INTRODUCTION: Osteoarthritis (OA) results in pain and disability; however, preclinical OA models often focus on joint-level changes. Gait analysis is one method used to evaluate both preclinical OA models and OA patients. The objective of this study is to describe spatiotemporal and ground reaction force changes in a rat medial meniscus transection (MMT) model of knee OA and to compare these gait measures with assays of weight bearing and tactile allodynia. METHODS: Sixteen rats were used in the study. The medial collateral ligament (MCL) was transected in twelve Lewis rats (male, 200 to 250 g); in six rats, the medial meniscus was transected, and the remaining six rats served as sham controls. The remaining four rats served as naïve controls. Gait, weight-bearing as measured by an incapacitance meter, and tactile allodynia were assessed on postoperative days 9 to 24. On day 28, knee joints were collected for histology. Cytokine concentrations in the serum were assessed with a 10-plex cytokine panel. RESULTS: Weight bearing was not affected by sham or MMT surgery; however, the MMT group had decreased mechanical paw-withdrawal thresholds in the operated limb relative to the contralateral limb (P = 0.017). The gait of the MMT group became increasingly asymmetric from postoperative days 9 to 24 (P = 0.020); moreover, MMT animals tended to spend more time on their contralateral limb than their operated limb while walking (P < 0.1). Ground reaction forces confirmed temporal shifts in symmetry and stance time, as the MMT group had lower vertical and propulsive ground reaction forces in their operated limb relative to the contralateral limb, naïve, and sham controls (P < 0.05). Levels of interleukin 6 in the MMT group tended to be higher than naïve controls (P = 0.072). Histology confirmed increased cartilage damage in the MMT group, consistent with OA initiation. Post hoc analysis revealed that gait symmetry, stance time imbalance, peak propulsive force, and serum interleukin 6 concentrations had significant correlations to the severity of cartilage lesion formation. CONCLUSION: These data indicate significant gait compensations were present in the MMT group relative to medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury (sham) alone and naïve controls. Moreover, these data suggest that gait compensations are likely driven by meniscal instability and/or cartilage damage, and not by MCL injury alone.





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Publication Info

Allen, Kyle D, Brian A Mata, Mostafa A Gabr, Janet L Huebner, Samuel B Adams, Virginia B Kraus, Daniel O Schmitt, Lori A Setton, et al. (2012). Kinematic and dynamic gait compensations resulting from knee instability in a rat model of osteoarthritis. Arthritis Res Ther, 14(2). p. R78. 10.1186/ar3801 Retrieved from

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Samuel Bruce Adams

Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

Virginia Byers Kraus

Professor of Medicine

Virginia Byers Kraus, MD, PhD, is the Mary Bernheim Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Professor of Pathology and a faculty member of the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute in the Duke University School of Medicine. She is a practicing Rheumatologist with over 30 years’ experience in translational musculoskeletal research focusing on osteoarthritis, the most common of all arthritides. She trained at Brown University (ScB 1979), Duke University (MD 1982, PhD 1993) and the Duke University School of Medicine (Residency in Internal Medicine and Fellowship in Rheumatology). Her career has focused on elucidating osteoarthritis pathogenesis and translational research into the discovery and validation of biomarkers for early osteoarthritis detection, prediction of progression, monitoring of disease status, and facilitation of therapeutic developments. She is co-PI of the Foundation for NIH Biomarkers Consortium Osteoarthritis project. Trained as a molecular biologist and a Rheumatologist, she endeavors to study disease from bedside to bench.


Daniel Oliver Schmitt

Professor in the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology

My primary interest is in the evolution of primate locomotion. I am studying the mechanics of movement in primates and other vertebrates in the laboratory to understand the relationship between movement and postcranial morphology, and the unique nature of primates among mammals. Current projects include the origins of primate locomotion and the evolution of vertebrate bipedalism.

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