Metabolic syndrome is characterized by obesity, hyperglycemia, hypertension, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia. Metabolic syndrome is associated with osteoarthritis (OA), but it is unclear if the association is attributable to increased mechanical loading on joints caused by obesity or other aspects of metabolic syndrome. Here we examined the effects of metabolic syndrome, obesity, and the gut microbiome on load-induced OA.
Cartilage damage was induced through cyclic compressive loading in four groups of adult male mice: Toll-like receptor-5 deficient (TLR5KO) mice that develop metabolic syndrome due to alterations in the gut microbiome, TLR5KO mice submitted to chronic antibiotics to prevent metabolic syndrome (TLR5KOΔMicrobiota), C57BL/6J mice fed a high fat diet to cause obesity (HFD), and untreated C57BL/6J mice (WT). Loading was applied for 2 weeks (n=10-11/group) or 6 weeks (n=10-11/group).
After 2 weeks of loading, cartilage damage (OARSI score) was not different among groups. After 6 weeks of loading, HFD mice had increased load-induced cartilage damage, while TLR5KO mice had cartilage damage comparable to WT mice. TLR5KOΔMicrobiota mice had less cartilage damage than other groups. HFD mice had elevated serum inflammatory markers. Each group had a distinct gut microbiome composition.
Severe obesity increased load-induced cartilage damage, while milder changes in adiposity/metabolic syndrome seen in TLR5KO mice did not. Furthermore, the effects of systemic inflammation/obesity on cartilage damage depend on the duration of mechanical loading. Lastly, reduced cartilage damage in the TLR5KOΔMicrobiota mice suggests that the gut microbiome may influence cartilage pathology.
Read more at: Osteoarthritis and Cartilage