No disease-modifying drug exists for osteoarthritis (OA). Despite success in animal models, candidate drugs continue to fail in clinical trials owing to the unmapped interpatient heterogeneity and disease complexity. We used a single-cell platform based on cytometry by time-of-flight (cyTOF) to precisely outline the effects of candidate drugs on human OA chondrocytes. OA chondrocytes harvested from patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty were treated with 2 drugs, an NF-κB pathway inhibitor, BMS-345541, and a chondroinductive small molecule, kartogenin, that showed preclinical success in animal models for OA. cyTOF conducted with 30 metal isotope–labeled antibodies parsed the effects of the drugs on inflammatory, senescent, and chondroprogenitor cell populations. The NF-κB pathway inhibition decreased the expression of p–NF-κB, HIF2A, and inducible NOS in multiple chondrocyte clusters and significantly depleted 4 p16ink4a-expressing senescent populations, including NOTCH1+STRO1+ chondroprogenitor cells. While kartogenin also affected select p16ink4a-expressing senescent clusters, there was a less discernible effect on chondroprogenitor cell populations. Overall, BMS-345541 elicited a uniform drug response in all patients, while only a few responded to kartogenin. These studies demonstrate that a single-cell cyTOF-based drug screening platform can provide insights into patient response assessment and patient stratification.
Neety Sahu, Fiorella Carla Grandi, Nidhi Bhutani