Pathological calcification in osteoarthritis: an outcome or a disease initiator?

Jian fei Yan, Wen pin Qin, Bo cheng Xiao, Qian qian Wan, Franklin R. Tay, Li na Niu, Kai Jiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


In the progression of osteoarthritis, pathological calcification in the affected joint is an important feature. The role of these crystallites in the pathogenesis and progression of osteoarthritis is controversial; it remains unclear whether they act as a disease initiator or are present as a result of joint damage. Recent studies reported that the molecular mechanisms regulating physiological calcification of skeletal tissues are similar to those regulating pathological or ectopic calcification of soft tissues. Pathological calcification takes place when the equilibrium is disrupted. Calcium phosphate crystallites are identified in most affected joints and the presence of these crystallites is closely correlated with the extent of joint destruction. These observations suggest that pathological calcification is most likely to be a disease initiator instead of an outcome of osteoarthritis progression. Inhibiting pathological crystallite deposition within joint tissues therefore represents a potential therapeutic target in the management of osteoarthritis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)960-985
Number of pages26
JournalBiological Reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • chondrocytes
  • metabolism
  • osteoarthritis
  • pathological calcification
  • pathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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