November 23, 2017 |
New Theory on Genesis of Osteoarthritis Comes With Successful Therapy in Mice
May 31, 2013  | 

In the future, joint replacement therapy might be avoidable

 

Baltimore, MD - Scientists at Johns Hopkins have turned their view of osteoarthritis (OA) inside out. Literally. Instead of seeing the painful degenerative disease as a problem primarily of the cartilage that cushions joints, they now have evidence that the bone underneath the cartilage is also a key player and exacerbates the damage. In a proof-of-concept experiment, they found that blocking the action of a critical bone regulation protein in mice halts progression of the disease.

The prevailing theory on the development of OA focuses on joint cartilage, suggesting that unstable mechanical pressure on the joints leads to more and more harm to the cartilage—and pain to the patient—until the only treatment option left is total knee or hip replacement. The new theory, reported in Nature Medicine, suggests that initial harm to the cartilage causes the bone underneath it to behave improperly by building surplus bone. The extra bone stretches the cartilage above and speeds its decline.

Xu Cao, Ph.D.“If there is something wrong with the leg of your chair and you try to fix it by replacing the cushion, you haven’t solved the problem,” says Xu Cao, Ph.D., director of the Center for Musculoskeletal Research in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “We think that the problem in OA is not just the cartilage ‘cushion,’ but the bone underneath,” he adds. Continue>

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