Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Dr. Frank Beier


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease whose exact mechanisms are not well understood, but aging and obesity are common risk factors. To determine the role of transforming growth factor-alpha (TGFα) in obesity-associated OA, Tgfa null and control mice on control and high fat diets were compared. In addition, spontaneous OA was investigated in aging C57BL/6J mice. Quantitative magnetic resonance was used to assess body composition in the obesity model, while gait analysis, histological staining and OARSI scoring were used to determine OA in both models. Mice on high fat diet developed no OA, but Tgfa null mice weighed significantly less than controls due to decreased fat mass. Reduced liver size was also observed. Two-year-old male, but not female, C57BL/6J mice had increased OA, although less severe than expected. This study has identified TGFα as a potential regulator of metabolism, and provided new data on the rate of OA in aging C57BL/6J mice.