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The European Orthopaedic Research Society (EORS) 2018 Meeting, PART 2, Galway, Ireland, September 2018.


OA pathophysiology has a vascular component consisting of venous stasis resulting in intraosseous hypertension and hypoxia. In response, osteoblasts change their cytokine expression, accelerating bone remodelling and cartilage breakdown consistent with OA. We have characterized circulatory kinetics in OA bone in animal models with dynamic contrast enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI) and 18F PET and have demonstrated venous stasis and reduced perfusion that temporally precede and spatially coincide with OA lesions. Osteoblast uptake of 18F is consistent with abnormal perfusion, bone remodelling, and severity of OA. Circulatory kinetics with DCE-MRI in humans with OA of the knee exhibit similar venous outflow obstruction. Venous stasis is associated with hypoxia in subchondral bone. As an example of the effects of hypoxia on OA osteoblasts, we have described upregulation of fibrinolytic peptides, but a deficiency in the upregulation of PAI-1, leading to the generation of plasmin by human OA osteoblasts exposed to hypoxia in vitro. Plasmin is a serine protease that has been shown to degrade cartilage in OA. Abnormal circulatory kinetics by DCE-MRI may be an imaging biomarker of OA. Pharmacologic modulation of venous stasis would have a salutary effect on the physicochemical microcirculation of subchondral osteoblasts and the pathophysiology of OA.