Osteoarthritis cartilage histopathology: grading and staging

K P H Pritzker, S Gay, S A Jimenez, K Ostergaard, J-P Pelletier, P A Revell, D Salter, W B van den Berg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Current osteoarthritis (OA) histopathology assessment methods have difficulties in their utility for early disease, as well as their reproducibility and validity. Our objective was to devise a more useful method to assess OA histopathology that would have wide application for clinical and experimental OA assessment and would become recognized as the standard method.

DESIGN: An OARSI Working Group deliberated on principles, standards and features for an OA cartilage pathology assessment system. Using current knowledge of the pathophysiology of OA morphologic features, a proposed system was presented at OARSI 2000. Subsequently, this was widely circulated for comments amongst experts in OA pathology.

RESULTS: An OA cartilage pathology assessment system based on six grades, which reflect depth of the lesion and four stages reflecting extent of OA over the joint surface was developed.

CONCLUSIONS: The OARSI cartilage OA histopathology grading system appears consistent and simple to apply. Further studies are required to confirm the system's utility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-29
Number of pages17
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006


  • Animals
  • Arthroscopy
  • Biological Markers
  • Bone Remodeling
  • Cartilage, Articular
  • Cell Division
  • Chondrocytes
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Joints
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sclerosis
  • Terminology as Topic


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