Hemodynamic stress shapes subchondral bone in osteoarthritis: An emerging hypothesis

Ruiyan Ni, X. Edward Guo, Chun Hoi Yan, Chunyi Wen

Research output: Journal article publicationShort surveyAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Osteoarthritis (OA) is no longer regarded as a simple wear-and-tear problem of articular cartilage. Instead, OA is a whole joint disorder involving both cartilaginous and non-cartilaginous tissues such as subchondral bone and synovium. Among them, subchondral bone undergoes constant remodeling in response to the changes of mechanical environment. Current understanding of subchondral bone disturbance in OA is limited to its link with an altered local mechanical loading as a result of ligament or meniscus injury. Very recently, hypertension, the most common vascular morbidity, has been emerged as an independent risk factor of OA. It might suggest a plausible role of systemic hemodynamic mechanical stress in subchondral bone remodeling and the pathogenesis of OA. However, their relationship remains not fully understood. Based on our preliminary clinical observation on the association of hemodynamic parameters with subchondral bone mass and microstructure in late-stage knee OA patients, we formulate a vascular etiology hypothesis of OA from a mechanobiology perspective. Noteworthily, hemodynamic stress associated with subchondral bone mineral density; yet compressive mechanical loading does not. Furthermore, hemodynamic parameters positively correlated with subchondral plate-like trabecular bone volume but negatively associated with rod-like trabecular bone volume. In contrast, compressive mechanical loading tends to increase both plate-like and rod-like trabecular bone volume. Taken together, it warrants further investigations into the distinct role of hemodynamic or compressive stress in shaping subchondral bone in the pathophysiology of OA. The Translational potential of this article: This work provides a new insight, from the angle of biomechanics, into the emerging role of vascular pathologies, such as hypertension, in the pathogenesis of OA. It might open up a new avenue for the development of a mechanism-based discovery of novel diagnostics and therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-90
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Translation
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Heart rate
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pulse pressure
  • Subchondral trabecular bone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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