miRNAs in Spine Osteoarthritis

An animated overview of spine osteoarthritis, the involvement microRNAs and other molecular factors, and insights into potential therapeutic strategies.

Still frame from the animation, miRNA in Osteoarthritis, showing the cross-section of a healthy facet joint.

Cross-section of healthy vertebral facet joint

The Science:

Spine osterarthritis is a degenerative disease where the facet joints that cushion one vertebrae from the next are progressively stressed and damaged, resulting in limited mobility and great pain in patients.

This animation depicts the molecular factors involved in the progression of this disease. Particularly, we follow the story of microRNAs, small non-coding segments of RNA, which play a significant part in the cascade of inflammatory events that lead to facet joint damage.

Creation Process:

This animation was created for the Kapoor Lab of the Krembil Research Institute, University Health Network, Ontario whose efforts are focused on the study of osteoarthritis pathophysiology and therapeutic strategies.

This animation was created primarily with Maya along with a small handful of other sofware. The vertebrae and cross-sections of the facet joint were sculpted in ZBrush. Molecular models were created using the Molecular Maya plugin. Final compositing was completed in After Effects.

Cross-section of facet joint showing progressive deterioration.

Cross-section of facet joint showing disease progression

Still frame from the animation, miRNA in Osteoarthritis, showing injection of miRNA inhibitors into vertebral facet joints as potential therapy.

Injection of miRNA inhibitors as potential therapy

Still frame from the animation, miRNA in Osteoarthritis, showing apoptosis of damaged chondrocytes.

Apoptosis of chondrocytes

Animation - Geoffrey L Cheung

Narration - Phoebe Ogawa

Media - Adobe After Effects, Adobe Audition, Autodesk Maya, Molecular Maya plugin for Maya, ZBrush

Agency - Kapoor Lab, The Arthritis Program, Krembil Research Institute, University Health Network, Ontario, Canada

Still frame from the animation, miRNA in Osteoarthritis, showing the cross-section of a healthy facet joint.
Cross-section of facet joint showing progressive deterioration.
Still frame from the animation, miRNA in Osteoarthritis, showing injection of miRNA inhibitors into vertebral facet joints as potential therapy.
Still frame from the animation, miRNA in Osteoarthritis, showing apoptosis of damaged chondrocytes.
Still frame from the animation, miRNA in Osteoarthritis, showing the cross-section of a healthy facet joint.
Cross-section of facet joint showing progressive deterioration.
Still frame from the animation, miRNA in Osteoarthritis, showing injection of miRNA inhibitors into vertebral facet joints as potential therapy.
Still frame from the animation, miRNA in Osteoarthritis, showing apoptosis of damaged chondrocytes.