PURPOSE: The objective of this study was to determine the responses of normal meniscus to collagenase activity. It was hypothesized that meniscal explants exposed to collagenase would significantly increase release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and degradative enzymes, in a dose-dependent manner, compared to control.
METHODS: Menisci were harvested from adult dogs (n = 6) euthanized for reasons unrelated to this study. Meniscal explants were created from the central portion of lateral and medial meniscus. Explants were injected with 100 µl collagenase at a concentration of 50 µg/ml, 5 µg/ml, or 0 µg/ml of collagenase. Explants were cultured for 12 days, and media were changed and collected every 3 days for biomarker analyses. Differences among collagenase concentrations were determined by a three factor ANOVA with adjustment for multiple comparisons, with pre-adjustment statistical significance set at p < 0.05.
RESULTS: When data from all explants were compared, the 50 µg group released significantly higher IL-6 and PGE2, and the 5 µg group released significantly higher levels of MMP-3 and CTX-II compared to the 0 µg group. Explants from the medial meniscus released significantly more MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-3, and MMP-13 in response to stimulation with 5 µg/ml of collagenase compared to explants from the lateral meniscus.
DISCUSSION: The data from this study indicate that in response to localized degradative enzyme activity, the meniscus increases the release of pro-inflammatory and degradative biomarkers in a dose-dependent manner. Further, these data indicate potential differences in metabolic responses of lateral versus medial menisci to collagenase insult.