We will characterize the early molecular and structural changes associated with meniscal breakdown and knee OA. By studying the me- niscus and synovial fluid from patients with torn menisci using mass spectrometry and novel micro CT imaging techniques, 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 reso-nance imaging (MRI). This technique will enable us to visualize the earliest structural features associated with OA disease progression.
Combining our results from these two me- thods, we aim to pinpoint the molecular chan- ges 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 pharmaceuti- cal intervention against meniscal breakdown and OA disease.