Articular osteochondrosis: A comparison of naturally-occurring human and animal disease

A. M. McCoy, F. Toth, N. I. Dolvik, S. Ekman, J. Ellermann, K. Olstad, B. Ytrehus, C. S. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Background: Osteochondrosis (OC) is a common developmental orthopedic disease affecting both humans and animals. Despite increasing recognition of this disease among children and adolescents, its pathogenesis is incompletely understood because clinical signs are often not apparent until lesions have progressed to end-stage, and examination of cadaveric early lesions is not feasible. In contrast, both naturally-occurring and surgically-induced animal models of disease have been extensively studied, most notably in horses and swine, species in which OC is recognized to have profound health and economic implications. The potential for a translational model of human OC has not been recognized in the existing human literature. Objective: The purpose of this review is to highlight the similarities in signalment, predilection sites and clinical presentation of naturally-occurring OC in humans and animals and to propose a common pathogenesis for this condition across species. Study design: Review. Methods: The published human and veterinary literature for the various manifestations of OC was reviewed. Peer-reviewed original scientific articles and species-specific review articles accessible in PubMed (US National Library of Medicine) were eligible for inclusion. Results: A broad range of similarities exists between OC affecting humans and animals, including predilection sites, clinical presentation, radiographic/MRI changes, and histological appearance of the end-stage lesion, suggesting a shared pathogenesis across species. Conclusion: This proposed shared pathogenesis for OC between species implies that naturally-occurring and surgically-induced models of OC in animals may be useful in determining risk factors and for testing new diagnostic and therapeutic interventions that can be used in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1638-1647
Number of pages10
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research received no specific funding for scientific objectives. AMM and FT were supported by an NIH institutional training grant ( T32OD10993 ); CSC was supported by NIH K18OD010468 .


  • Articular-epiphyseal cartilage complex
  • Endochondral ossification
  • Osteochondritis dissecans
  • Osteochondrosis
  • Pathogenesis
  • Translational model


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