Polyethylene wear particles play a role in development of osteoarthritis via detrimental effects on cartilage, meniscus, and synovium

D. Y. Park, B. H. Min, D. W. Kim, B. R. Song, M. Kim, Y. J. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: While ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) wear particles are known to cause periprosthetic osteolysis, its interaction with other intra-articular tissues in the case of partial joint arthroplasties is not well understood. We hypothesized that UHMWPE particles per se would interact with intra-articular tissue, which by acting as inflammatory reservoirs, would subsequently induce osteoarthritic (OA) changes. Our goal was to assess the inflammatory response, phagocytic activity, as well as apoptosis of intra-articular cells in the presence of UHMWPE particles invitro, and the invivo response of those tissues after intra-articular injection of particles in a murine model. Design: Three cell types were used for the invitro study; chondrocytes, meniscal fibrochondrocytes, and synoviocytes. Each cell type was cultured with two different concentrations of UHMWPE particles. Pro-inflammatory cytokine production, phagocytosis, and apoptosis were analyzed. Invivo experiments were done by injecting two concentrations of UHMWPE particles into normal and murine OA model knee joints. Results: Invitro experiments showed that UHMWPE particles increase pro-inflammatory cytokine and mediator (IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, Nitric Oxide, and Prostaglandin E2) production, phagocytosis of particles, and apoptosis in all cell types. Invivo experiment showed degeneration of cartilage and meniscus, as well as synovitis after particle injection. Conclusions: UHMWPE wear particles per se exert detrimental effects in cartilage, synovium, and meniscus of the knee joint resulting in pro-inflammatory cytokine release, phagocytosis of particles and apoptosis. Particles induced and exacerbated OA changes in a murine model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2021-2029
Number of pages9
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Dec
Externally publishedYes


  • Osteoarthritis
  • Partial joint arthroplasty
  • Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene
  • Unicompartmental knee arthroplasty
  • Wear particle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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