We will characterize the early molecular and structural changes associated with meniscal breakdown and knee OA. By studying the meniscus from patients with torn menisci (see results ﬁgure) using mass spectrometry, we will identify protein changes that accompany meniscus breakdown. We will further follow-up on a subset of these patients at risk for future OA, using ultra high-resolution 7-Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This technique will enable us to visualize the earliest structural features associated with OA disease progression.
Combining our results from these two methods, we aim to pinpoint the molecular changes in the meniscus that are associated with development of OA. This will help us identify new biomarkers for early diagnosis of OA, as well as discover new targets for pharmaceutical intervention against meniscal breakdown and OA disease.