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General Orthopaedics


The Canadian Orthopaedic Association (COA) and The International Combined Orthopaedic Research Societies (ICORS) Meeting, Montreal, Canada, June 2019. Part 2.


Aberrant infrapatellar fat metabolism is a notable feature provoking inflammation and fibrosis in the progression of osteoarthritis (OA). Irisin, a secretory subunit of fibronectin type III domain containing 5 (FNDC5) regulate adipose morphogenesis, energy expenditure, skeletal muscle, and bone metabolism. This study aims to characterize the biological roles of Irisin signaling in an infrapatellar fat formation and OA development.

Injured articular specimens were harvested from 19 patients with end-stage knee OA and 11 patients with the femoral neck fracture. Knee joints in mice that overexpressed Irisin were subjected to intra-articular injection of collagenase to provoke OA. Expressions of Irisin, adipokines, and MMPs probed with RT-quantitative PCR. Infrapatellar adiposity, articular cartilage damage, and synovial integrity verified with histomorphometry and immunohistochemistry.

Infrapatellar adipose and synovial tissues instead of articular cartilage exhibited Irisin immunostaining. Human OA specimens showed 40% decline in Irisin expression than the non-OA group. In vitro, the gain of Irisin function enabled synovial fibroblasts but not chondrocytes to display minor responses to the IL-1β provocation of MMP3 and MMP9 expression. Of note, Irisin signaling reduced adipogenic gene expression and adipocyte formation of mesenchymal progenitor cells. In collagenase-mediated OA knee pathogenesis, forced FNDC5 expression in articular compromised the collagenase-induced infrapatellar adipose hypertrophy, synovial hypercellularity, and membrane hyperplasia. These adipose-regulatory actions warded off the affected knees from cartilage destruction and gait aberrance. Likewise, intra-articular injection of Irisin recombinant protein mitigated the development of infrapatellar adiposity and synovitis slowing down the progression of cartilage erosion and walking profile irregularity. Affected joints and adipocytes responded to the Irisin recombinant protein treatment by reducing the expressions of cartilage-deleterious adipokines IL-6, leptin, and adiponectin through regulating PPAR&gamma, function.

Irisin dysfunction is relevant to the existence of end-stage knee OA. Irisin signaling protects from excessive adipogenesis of mesenchymal precursor cells and diminished inflammation and cartilage catabolism actions aggravated by adipocytes and synovial cells. This study sheds emerging new light on the Irisin signaling stabilization of infrapatellar adipose homeostasis and the perspective of the therapeutic potential of Irisin recombinant protein for deescalating knee OA development.