Fib3-3 as a biomarker for osteoarthritis in a rat model with metabolic dysregulation

Huub M. de Visser, Christelle Sanchez, Simon C. Mastbergen*, Floris P.J.G. Lafeber, Yves E. Henrotin, Harrie Weinans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
70 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: Fibulin-3 is a glycoprotein highly expressed in osteoarthritic cartilage and inhibits angiogenesis and chondrocyte differentiation. Recent studies have indicated that fibulin-3 has potential value as a biomarker in osteoarthritis. The aim of the present study is to examine the role of 3 fibulin-3 peptides (Fib3-1, Fib3-2, and Fib3-3) and a type II collagen degradation product in a rat osteoarthritis model with systemic metabolic alterations combined with local cartilage damage. Design: Forty, 12-week-old male, Wistar rats were randomly divided over 2 groups: a standard or a high-fat diet inducing metabolic dysregulation. After 12 weeks, articular cartilage damage was induced on the femoral condyles (groove model), in 1 knee joint in 14 rats of each diet group. At endpoint, blood was collected and serum was isolated. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay on all selected fibulin-3 fragments was performed from serum samples in addition to immunohistochemical analysis for Fib3-3. Results: Serum concentrations of Fib3-3 were increased by 29.9%, when cartilage damage was induced in addition to a high-fat diet. Fib3-3 was also associated with an increased histological total joint degeneration (r = 0.435) and cartilage degeneration (r = 0.435). Immunostainings demonstrated increased Fib3-3 in the superficial cartilage of animals with high-fat diet and/or cartilage damage. Conclusions: In the rat groove model combined with high-fat diet–induced metabolic dysregulation an increased Fib3-3 concentration was observed systemically, which is associated with local joint degeneration. This suggests that systemic Fib3-3 concentrations can indicate the status of joint degeneration and function as a biomarker in osteoarthritis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-334
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • animal model
  • articular cartilage
  • osteoarthritis; biomarker


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