Program: Osteoarthritis and tissue engineering of articular cartilage.

Peter M. van der Kraan

Program leader

Email: [email protected]

Research Program

Damage to articular cartilage due to joint diseases, mainly osteoarthritis, results in severe loss of joint function and disability. In people over age 60 more than 70% has radiological evidence of cartilage damage. Due to the increasing mean age, the number of people affected by osteoarthritis rapidly rises and therapies that can prevent cartilage damage or stimulate cartilage repair are highly needed. The overall goal is to elucidate the main players of cartilage pathology in osteoarthritis and to develop strategies to stimulate cartilage repair.

Areas of study:


Osteoarthritis is characterised by a disregulation of chondrocyte differentiation and cartilage metabolism. This eventually results in destruction of articular cartilage. The main areas of interest include:

Tissue Engineering of cartilage:

Tissue engineering of cartilage aims at the creation of new articular cartilage. In the U.S.A. each year nearly 900,00 cases of traumatic cartilage injury are reported. Articular cartilage has very limited potential for repair and the procedures now a days applied do not result in long term repair of articular cartilage. Therefore, in collaboration with the departments of Biochemistry (dr van Kuppevelt) and Orthopaedics (dr P. Buma), we strive to develop tissue engineered articular cartilage, that can be used to repair damaged articular cartilage. To obtain this goal, fundamental understanding of artificial cartilage matrices and chondrocyte cell biology is combined to develop tissue-engineered cartilage.

Participating Researchers:

Henk M. van Beuningen - Regulation of chondrocyte differentiation.

Nosomi Takahashi - Mechanism of articular cartilage degradation.

Esmeralda Blaney Davidson - Articular cartilage targeting of TGF beta.

Selected references last 3 years:

  1. Van den Berg WB, van der Kraan PM, van Beuningen HM. Synovial mediators of cartilage damage and repair in OA. In "Osteoarthritis" Page 157-166, Ed. Brandt KD, Doherty M, Lohmander LS. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1998
  2. Glansbeek HL, van Beuningen HM, Vitters EL, van der Kraan PM, van den Berg WB. Stimulation of articular cartilage repair in established arthyritis by local administration of transforming growth factor b into murine knee joints. Lab Invest 78: 133-142, 1998
  3. Stoop R, van der Kraan PM, Buma P, Hollander AP, Poole AR, van den Berg WB. Denaturation of type II collagen in experimental murine arthritis. Evidence for reversible and irreversible damage and compartmental differences in the knee joint. J Pathol 1999;188;329-337
  4. Stoop R, van der Kraan PM, Buma P, Hollander AP, Billinghurst RC, Poole AR, van Den Berg WB. Type II colagen degradation in spontaneous osteoarthritis in C57Bl/6 and Balb/c mice. Arthritis & Rheum 1999;42:2381-2389
  5. Stoop R, Buma P, van der Kraan PM, Hollander AP, Billinghurst RC, Poole AR, van Den Berg WB. Differences in type II collagen degradation between peripheral and central cartilage of rat stifle joints after cranial cruciate ligament transection. Arthritis & Rheum 2000;43:2121-2131
  6. Scharstuhl A, Glansbeek HJ, van Beuningen HM, Vitters EL, van der Kraan PM, van den Berg WB. Inhibition of endogenous TGF beta during experimental osteoarthritis prevents osteophyte formation and impairs cartilage repair. J Immunol 169: 507-514, 2002

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