Contribution of nerves within osteochondral channels to osteoarthritis knee pain in humans and rats.
Summary Objectives: Subchondral bone may contribute to knee osteoarthritis (OA) pain. Nerve growth factor (NGF) can stimulate nerve growth through TrkA. We aimed to identify how sensory nerve growth at the osteochondral junction in human and rat knees associates with OA pain. Results: The percentage of osteochondral channels containing CGRP-IR nerves in symptomatic chondropathy was higher than in asymptomatic chondropathy (difference: 2.5% [95% CI: 1.1–3.7]), and in MNX-than in sham-operated rat knees (difference: 7.8% [95%CI: 1.7–15.0]). Osteochondral CGRP-IR innervation was significantly associated with pain behavior in rats. Treatment with AR786 prevented the increase in CGRP-IR nerves in osteochondral channels and reduced pain behavior in MNX-operated rats. Structural OA was not significantly affected by AR786 treatment. Conclusions: CGRP-IR sensory nerves within osteochondral channels are associated with pain in human and rat knee OA. Reduced pathological innervation of the osteochondral junction might contribute to analgesic effects of reduced NGF activity achieved by blocking TrkA.
- Rheumatology 
Walsh, David A.