To determine whether there is a correlation between the concentration of Indian hedgehog (Ihh) in synovial fluid (SF) and the severity of cartilage damage in the human knee joints, the knee cartilages from patients were classified using the Outer-bridge scoring system and graded using the Modified Mankin score. Expression of Ihh in cartilage and SF samples were analyzed with immunohistochemistry (IHC), western blot, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Furthermore, we detected and compared Ihh protein levels in rat and mice cartilages between normal control and surgery-induced osteoarthritis (OA) group by IHC and fluorescence molecular tomography in vivo respectively. Ihh expression was increased 5.2-fold in OA cartilage, 3.1-fold in relative normal OA cartilage, and 1.71-fold in OA SF compared to normal control samples. The concentrations of Ihh in cartilage and SF samples was significantly increased in early-stage OA samples when compared to normal samples (r = 0.556; p < 0.001); however, there were no significant differences between normal samples and late-stage OA samples. Up-regulation of Ihh protein was also an early event in the surgery-induced OA models. Increased Ihh is associated with the severity of OA cartilage damage. Elevated Ihh content in human knee joint synovial fluid correlates with early cartilage lesions. © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Zhang, C., Wei, X., Chen, C., Cao, K., Li, Y., Jiao, Q., … Wei, L. (2014). Indian hedgehog in synovial fluid is a novel marker for early cartilage lesions in human knee joint. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 15(5), 7250–7265. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms15057250