Despite a growing recognition that meniscal degeneration often precedes cartilage degeneration in the development of knee osteoarthritis (OA), little is known about the role of meniscal degeneration in the onset and progression of knee OA. Even a mild degenerative lesion increases meniscal extrusion, implying changes in biomechanical function. Understanding the mechanisms of meniscal degeneration may enable the diagnosis and disease-modifying treatment of early knee OA, potentially preventing or slowing the progression of the disease. The roles of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1 (IL-1) in promoting cartilage matrix degradation and mediating inflammation in the progression of OA have been widely demonstrated [1,2]. Recent results from our group indicated that 20ng/ml hrIL-1α produced similar cell-mediated degradation and loss of mechanical properties in immature cartilage and meniscus, but progresses more rapidly in meniscus explants [3]. This study further explored the effects of IL-1α dosage and medial-lateral differences on the functional degradation of meniscal explants.

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