We used our voluntary rat model of reaching and grasping to study the effect of performing a high-repetition and high-force (HRHF) task for 12 weeks on wrist joints. We also studied the effectiveness of ibuprofen, administered in the last 8 weeks, in attenuating HRHF-induced changes in these joints. With HRHF task performance, ED1+ and COX2+ cells were present in subchondral radius, carpal bones and synovium; IL-1alpha and TNF-alpha increased in distal radius/ulna/carpal bones; chondrocytes stained with Terminal deoxynucleotidyl Transferase- (TDT-) mediated dUTP-biotin nick end-labeling (TUNEL) increased in wrist articular cartilages; superficial structural changes (e.g., pannus) and reduced proteoglycan staining were observed in wrist articular cartilages. These changes were not present in normal controls or ibuprofen treated rats, although IL-1alpha was increased in reach limbs of trained controls. HRHF-induced increases in serum C1,2C (a biomarker of collagen I and II degradation), and the ratio of collagen degradation to synthesis (C1,2C/CPII; the latter a biomarker of collage type II synthesis) were also attenuated by ibuprofen. Thus, ibuprofen treatment was effective in attenuating HRHF-induced inflammation and early articular cartilage degeneration.
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