Molecular network of cartilage homeostasis and osteoarthritis

Megumi Hashimoto, Tomoyuki Nakasa, Tomohiro Hikata, Hiroshi Asahara

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

96 Citations (Scopus)


This review article presents the current understanding of the molecular basis of articular cartilaginous homeostasis, and outlines potential areas to focus on within the developing field of therapeutics for cartilage disorders. Articular cartilage, an integral component of joints in extremities and the vertebral column, is essential for locomotion. Disturbance of joint development or cartilage homeostasis causes congenital osteocartilaginous dysplasia or osteoarthritic diseases, respectively. Symptomatic treatments and surgical replacement of joints are effective but can also be problematic in terms of quality of life over time. Recently, new insights into the molecular biological basis of chondrocyte differentiation and cartilage homeostasis have been reported. While joint formation is regulated by several growth factors such as Wnts (wingless-related MMTV integration site) and Gdfs (growth and differentiation factors), the pathology of osteoarthritis is now interpreted as the disruption of balance between anabolic and catabolic signals. Current findings in molecular biology on joint development are reviewed concisely to aid in the understanding of the molecular network that governs articular cartilage development and homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-481
Number of pages18
JournalMedicinal Research Reviews
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008 May 1


  • Articular cartilage
  • Development
  • Homeostasis
  • Molecular network
  • Osteoarthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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