Establishment of an in vitro osteoarthritis model

Center for Regenerative Medicine


The integrity of synovial joints with an intact surface of the articular cartilage and the optimal composition of the synovial fluid is crucial for their proper performance to guarantee low-friction movement. Inflammatory processes occurring in the course of degenerative diseases cause alterations of the synovial fluid as well as the cartilage surface leading to increases in friction phenomena and decreases in load support during motion and upon application of extrinsic load. We want to establish an in vitro arthrosis system by inducing degenerative alterations on articular cartilage of explants from porcine knee joints. Therefore, inflammatory cytokines (e.g. IL-1 or TNF-alpha) and/or reactive oxygen species (ROS) will be employed. Alterations of biomechanical properties of the treated cartilage plugs will be determined by friction measurements in a closed-circuit cartilage-on-cartilage system and indentation tests. Effects on matrix structure and expression performance of embedded chondrocytes of the same explant will be analysed using molecular biological and histological methods following the biomechanical characterization. This system will then be employed to test anti-inflammatory factors (e.g. TGF-beta) as well as lubricating agents for potential chondroprotective effects with respect to improvement of friction coefficient and elasticity as well as the reversal of catabolic to anabolic activity of chondrocytes.

Cooperation partner 

osteochondral graft


Duration 01/01/2016 - 30/06/2019
Funding Bundesländer (inkl. deren Stiftungen und Einrichtungen)
Program Life Science Call NFB

Department for Health Sciences, Medicine and Research

Center for Regenerative Medicine

Principle investigator for the project (Danube University Krems) Dipl.-Ing. Christoph Bauer, PhD BSc BA
Project members Univ.-Prof. Dr. Stefan Nehrer Mag. Eugenia-Paulina Niculescu-Morzsa


Bauer, C.; Göcerler, H.; Niculescu-Morzsa, E.; Jeyakumar, V.; Stotter, C.; Tóth, I.; Klestil, T.; Franek, F.; Nehrer, S. (2019). Effect of osteochondral graft orientation in a biotribological test system. Journal of Orthopaedic Research, Mar, 37(3): 10.1002/jor.24236

Göcerler, H.; Pfeil, B.; Franek, F.; Bauer, C.; Niculescu-Morzsa, E.; Nehrer, S. (2019). The dominance of water on lubrication properties of articular joints. Industrial Lubrication and Tribology, Epub ahead of print: 10.1108/ILT-02-2019-0064

Bauer, C.; Niculescu-Morzsa, E.; Nehrer, S. (2017). A protocol for gene expression analysis of chondrocytes from bovine osteochondral plugs used for biotribological applications. MethodsX, 4: 423-428


Effect of orientation on osteochondral grafts in a biotribological test system

International Conference on BioTribology, Montreal, Canada, 27/09/2018

Effect of orientation on osteochondral grafts in a biotribological test system

8th World Congress of Biomechanics, Dublin, Ireland, 07/07/2018

Effect of orientation on osteochondral grafts in a biotribological test system

ORS 2018 Annual Meeting, New Orleans, 12/03/2018

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