Osteoarthritic tissues modulate functional properties of sensory neurons associated with symptomatic OA pain

Xin Li, Jae Sung Kim, Andre J. Van Wijnen, Hee Jeong Im

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Osteoarthritis (OA) is an age-related degenerative disease of cartilaginous tissues that is accompanied by hyperalgesia. Molecular cause and effect relationships between OA and pain remain to be elucidated. In this study, we have developed an experimental ex vivo organ co-culture system with dorsal root ganglia (DRGs) and knee synovial tissues from OA patients or unaffected human subjects. Our results suggest that tissues may generate symptomatic pain by altering the functional properties of sensory neurons. Specifically, we find that the expression levels of genes associated with neuronal pathways (e.g., SP, NK1, NK2, NPYR1, NPYR2, α2δ1) or inflammation (COX2/PTGS2 and IL6/interferon β2) are clearly elevated in DRG explants cultured in the presence of OA derived synovial tissues. These findings are consistent with a model in which cytokines and pain molecules produced by knee synovium sensitize nociceptive neurons in tissues peripheral to joint cartilage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5335-5339
Number of pages5
JournalMolecular Biology Reports
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1 2011



  • Dorsal root ganglia
  • Inflammation
  • Neuronal pathways
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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