Joint injuries are overwhelmingly common in both human and equine athletes. Chondrocytes, the sole cell type in cartilage, are responsible for producing and maintaining the extra-cellular matrix (ECM), which affords remarkable tensile and compressive strength to the joint surface. Once damaged, cartilage has little to no ability to heal itself. Therefore, post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA) commonly develops following joint trauma, whether sustained during an acute injury or accumulated overtime.
About Post-traumatic Osteoarthritis
Unfortunately, PTOA is a progressive, debilitating disease that currently lacks any effective treatment. Pain and decreased mobility are addressed with systemic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), intra-articular corticosteroids, rest and rehabilitation. The end stage therapy for OA joints in humans is total joint replacement, while select joints in the horse can be treated with surgical arthrodesis. Both of these procedures are invasive and expensive interventions.
Our lab is focused on understanding the pathogenesis of PTOA and developing regenerative medicine therapies to help regenerate cartilage and prevent the development of PTOA following joint injury. Specifically, we are interested in gene and cell therapies targeted at reducing post-traumatic inflammation and improving repair of the articular surface, thereby preventing the development of PTOA in the first place. Dr. Ortved’s clinical work as an equine orthopedic surgeon facilitates translation of this research from bench to clinic floor.
- Cell culture of equine mesenchymal stem cells
- Molecular biology: PCR and qRT-PCR, flow cytometry, protein analysis