Catalyst Awardee

Project Description

Innovative improvements in the mechanical microenvironment for the treatment of age-related knee osteoarthritis

Aifeng Liu, MD |The First Teaching Hospital of Tianjin University of Chinese Medicine; Juntao Zhang, MS; Chao Zhang, MD; Yuandong Li, MS
Competition Sponsor: Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences
Awardee Year: 2022

Knee osteoarthritis (KOA) is a common joint condition characterized by gradual cartilage loss, subchondral bone remodeling, and synovial inflammation, resulting in symptoms such as persistent pain, joint stiffness, and physical and psychological problems. Over the last two decades, over 250 million people have been diagnosed with KOA, with the global incidence increasing considerably. The condition has a significant impact on patients’ quality of life and imposes a significant burden on society and the economy.
In the previous study, a musculoskeletal model of knee OA was constructed following clinicopathological characteristics. In this project, the non-linear characteristics of the stress distribution in the knee “tendon” and “bone” were identified, and the steady-state damping characteristics of the cartilage repair microenvironment were clarified. This project carried out a new strategy of solid lubrication and stress regeneration. This project uses biomechanical testing, and reverse engineering techniques to construct simulation models and evaluate 3D graphene oxide nano scaffolds and Xianlingbao and Epimedium-containing serum to develop an umbilical-derived MSC-regulated joint mechanics microenvironment. The nano scaffold and drug-containing serums were loaded on an animal model to evaluate the extent of cartilage repair using biochemical, pathological, gene expression and gait analysis. Combined with the biological coupling theory, the mechanical microenvironment homeostasis was demonstrated, and the 3D graphene oxide nano scaffold and Xianlingbao and Epimedium-containing serum were used to cultivate the mechanical microenvironment characteristics and cartilage repair mechanism of the umbilical cord-derived MSC, contributing to quantitative diagnostic evidence and qualitative treatment ideas for the clinical diagnosis and treatment of KOA.


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