Abnormal collagen fibrils in tendons of biglycan/fibromodulin-deficient mice lead to gait impairment, ectopic ossification, and osteoarthritis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Small leucine-rich proteoglycans (SLRPs) regulate extracellular matrix organization, a process essential in development, tissue repair, and metastasis. In vivo interactions of biglycan and fibromodulin, two SLRPs highly expressed in tendons and bones, were investigated by generating biglycan/fibromodulin double-deficient mice. Here we show that collagen fibrils in tendons from mice deficient in biglycan and/or fibromodulin are structurally and mechanically altered resulting in unstable joints. As a result, the mice develop successively and progressively 1) gait impairment, 2) ectopic tendon ossification, and 3) severe premature osteoarthritis. Forced use of the joints increases ectopic ossification and osteoarthritis in the double-deficient mice, further indicating that structurally weak tendons cause the phenotype. The study shows that mutations in SLRPs may predispose to osteoarthritis and offers a valuable and unique animal model for spontaneous osteoarthritis characterized by early onset and a rapid progression of the disease.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cell and Molecular Biology


  • proteoglycans, cartilage, leucine-rich, matrix, bone
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-680
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Cell and Matrix Biology (LUR000002), Åke Oldberg´s group (013212049)