Tick tock, the cartilage clock

Natalie Rogers, Qing-Jun Meng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common age-related joint disease, affecting articular cartilage and other joint structures, causing severe pain and disability. Due to a limited understanding of the underlying disease pathogenesis, there are currently no disease-modifying drugs for OA. Circadian rhythms are generated by cell-intrinsic timekeeping mechanisms which are known to dampen during ageing, increasing disease risks. In this review, we focus on one emerging area of chondrocyte biology, the circadian clocks. We first provide a historical perspective of circadian clock discoveries and the molecular underpinnings. We will then focus on the expression and functions of circadian clocks in articular cartilage, including their rhythmic target genes and pathways, links to ageing, tissue degeneration, and OA, as well as tissue niche-specific entrainment pathways. Further research into cartilage clocks and ageing may have broader implications in the understanding of OA pathogenesis, the standardization of biomarker detection, and the development of novel therapeutic routes for the prevention and management of OA and other musculoskeletal diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1425-1436
Number of pages12
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Issue number11
Early online date23 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023


  • Cartilage ECM
  • Chronotherapy
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Clock genes
  • Osteoarthritis


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