Differences in metabolic parameters and gene expression related to osteochondrosis/osteoarthrosis in pigs fed 25-hydroxyvitamin D3

David Jefferies, Colin Farquharson, Jill Thomson, William Smith, Elaine Seawright, Heather McCormack, Colin Whitehead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Osteochondrosis/osteoarthrosis (OC/OA) are common terms for various joint pathologies that occur in pigs. Pathologies that may contribute to these disorders have been described, but the primary cause(s) remain unknown. We hypothesised that as OC has some similarities to dyschondroplasia, which involves a failure of growth plate chondrocytes to fully differentiate and hypertrophy, treatment with 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25-D) might reduce the incidence and/or severity of lesions in pigs, as it does in chickens with dyschondroplasia. Control pigs were fed a commercial diet ad libitum. In the treated group this diet was supplemented with 25-D at 0.1 mg/kg. Ten pigs from each of the control and treated groups were sampled at 7, 12, 16 and 21 weeks. Treatment with 25-D had no effect on the incidence or severity of OC/OA lesions. Cartilage dry weight, total collagen content and proteoglycan content, and plasma levels oftotal calcium, inorganic phosphorous, vitamin C, insuline-like growth factor-I, parathyroid hormone and tumour necrosis factor alpha were unaffected by treatment. In addition, none of these parameters were correlated with the incidence or severity of OC/OA lesions. The mRNA expression levels of 21 out of 23 genes assayed by RT-PCR were unaltered in articular cartilage from OA lesion samples as compared to normal articular cartilage. However, collagen type II was reduced and collagen type X increased in OA lesion and near lesion samples. These results suggest that OA in pigs may share some features of osteoarthritis in other mammalian species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-96
Number of pages14
JournalVeterinary Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Calcifediol/administration & dosage
  • Calcifediol/metabolism
  • Cartilage, Articular/metabolism
  • Cartilage, Articular/pathology
  • Collagen/genetics
  • Collagen/metabolism
  • Gene Expression
  • Immunohistochemistry/veterinary
  • Male
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteochondritis
  • RNA, Messenger/metabolism
  • Random Allocation
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Swine
  • Swine Diseases/genetics
  • Swine Diseases/metabolism
  • Swine Diseases/pathology


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