Osteoarthritis (OA) is a prevalent degenerative disease, which involves progressive and irreversible destruction of cartilage matrix. Despite efforts to reconstruct cartilage matrix in osteoarthritic joints, it has been a difficult task as adult cartilage exhibits marginal repair capacity. Here we report the identification of tankyrase as a regulator of the cartilage anabolism axis based on systems-level factor analysis of mouse reference populations. Tankyrase inhibition drives the expression of a cartilage-signature matrisome and elicits a transcriptomic pattern that is inversely correlated with OA progression. Furthermore, tankyrase inhibitors ameliorate surgically induced OA in mice, and stem cell transplantation coupled with tankyrase knockdown results in superior regeneration of cartilage lesions. Mechanistically, the pro-regenerative features of tankyrase inhibition are mainly triggered by uncoupling SOX9 from a poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation (PARylation)-dependent protein degradation pathway. Our findings provide insights into the development of future OA therapies aimed at reconstruction of articular cartilage.