Circadian rhythms mediated by both central and tissue-specific peripheral clocks allow for the synchronization of biological processes with diurnal cycles such as activity and rest. Disruption of these rhythms can be caused by altered sleep-awake patterns or by pathological conditions and can initiate or exacerbate human disease through mechanisms that are only partially understood. In this issue, Dudek et al. identify a chondrocyte-autonomous cartilage clock and demonstrate that expression of an important circadian pacemaker, BMAL1, decreases during osteoarthritis progression. They show that chondrocyte-specific deletion of BMAL1 leads to cartilage degradation and disruption of key pathways, shifting cartilage homeostasis toward a catabolic state. These findings provide insight into the interplay between circadian rhythm and cartilage in osteoarthritis.
Karen M. Doody, Nunzio Bottini