OBJECTIVE: To measure concentrations of nitric oxide metabolites (nitrite-nitrate [NOt]) in cartilage, synovial membrane, and cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) in dogs and evaluate associations with osteoarthritis in dogs with CCL rupture.
ANIMALS: 46 dogs with CCL rupture and 54 control dogs without joint disease.
PROCEDURE: Tissue specimens for histologic examination and explant culture were harvested during surgery in the CCL group or immediately after euthanasia in the control group; NOt concentrations were measured in supernatant of explant cultures and compared among dogs with various degrees of osteoarthritis and between dogs with and without CCL rupture.
RESULTS: Osteoarthritic cartilage had significantly higher NOt concentration (1,171.6 nmol/g) than did healthy cartilage (491.0 nmol/g); NOt concentration was associated with severity of macroscopic and microscopic lesions. Synovial membrane NOt concentration did not differ between dogs with and without CCL rupture. Ruptured CCL produced less NOt than did intact ligaments. In control dogs, NOt concentrations were similar for intact ligaments (568.1 nmol/g) and articular cartilage (491.0 nmol/g). Synthesis of NOt was inhibited substantially by coincubation with inhibitors.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Results suggest that NOt in canine joint tissues originates from the inducible nitric oxide synthase pathway. Nitric oxide metabolite production in cartilage was greater in dogs with osteoarthritis than in healthy dogs and was associated with lesion severity, suggesting that nitric oxide inhibitors may be considered as a treatment for osteoarthritis. The CCL produces substantial concentrations of NOt; the importance of this finding is unknown.