Mouse model for arthritic diseases

Arthritic diseases are conditions involving damages to the joints and/or cartilage. Primary forms of arthritis are for example Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Ankylosing spondylitis. RA is affecting over 21 million people worldwide and has a tumor-like proliferation phenotype.


Traditional approaches for treatment of arthritis are typically not suitable for long-term use due to side effect issues. So there is an unmet clinical need for new medications.

Our Solution

Deletion of Ptch1 in chondrocytes results in a severe spinal phenotype. Macroscopic image of litter mates eight weeks after birth (Source: K. Dittmann).

Volume rendering of in vivo acquired flat-panel volume computed tomography data sets depicting skeletal morphology of control (left) and mutant (right) 6 weeks after birth. Lower panels show bone density (Source: K. Dittmann).

Scientists at the University of Göttingen have now developed a new animal drug screening model for arthritic diseases, which is caused by dysfunction of the Hedgehog pathway. This is the first non-inflammatory mouse model with an aberrant Hedgehog signalling specifically in chondrocytes, demonstrating the importance of this particular pathway in arthritic indications.


  • Novel non-inflammatory arthritic animal model.
  • Conditional gene knock-out in chondrocytes.
  • Dysfunctional Hedgehog signaling causing hyperproliferation of chondrocytes, thus mimicking the known tumor-like proliferation phenotype of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Severe arthritic phenotype of spinal ankylosis (spinal malformation) without affecting otherwise normal development.
  • Good and effective breeding.


Excellent drug screening model for new targets within Hedgehog signaling.
Efficacy testing of potential new therapeutics for arthritis-related indications.

Developmental Status

Fully characterized new mouse model for arthritic diseases.

Patent Status

No IPR. We are selling/licensing this mouse model.


Dittmann et al.: Inactivation of patched1 in murine chondrocytes causes spinal fusion without inflammation. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2014 Apr;66(4):831-40.


Dr. Stefan Uhle
Patent Manager Life Science
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel.: +49 551 30724 154
Reference: BioC-1265-UMG

Tags: Animal models, Life science


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Georg-August-Universität Göttingen