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Protein hope for osteoarthritis

Wednesday July 24th, 2013

A potential new treatment for osteoarthritis has been discovered - in healthy cartilage tissue, researchers report today.

In osteoarthritis, cartilage breaks down at joints causing pain and problems with movement. A team of researchers from Queen Mary, University of London, UK, carried out tests on an artificial gel similar to damaged cartilage.

They exposed this synthetic model of osteoarthritis to a protein called CNP which is found in healthy cartilage tissue, and exposed the gel to forces similar to those created by exercise.

This allowed them to identify two proteins produced by the body which have anti-inflammatory and reparative effects. The tests also revealed that the effects of CNP change with age. Full details appear in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy.

Researcher Dr Nick Peake said: "While these are early results, the findings could be useful in treating osteoarthritis, which is the most common type of arthritis and affects more than eight million people in the UK.

"The important observation is the complementary effect of the CNP protein and the effect of compression on the cells. This multiplies the beneficial effects of both resulting in reduced inflammation and cartilage repair."

Co-author Dr Tina Chowdhury added that the next step is to replicate the results in tests on animals with osteoarthritis, before it can be tested on human patients.

She said: "We are working closely with pharmacologists and clinicians at the William Harvey Research Institute and Royal London Hospital to make the work clinically feasible in the next five years."

Professor Alan Silman of Arthritis Research UK, which partly funded the study, said: "If these preliminary results are validated in further research they could offer a novel and much needed approach to treating the underlying cause of this distressing disorder and not just reducing the symptoms."

Peake, N. et al. Natriuretic peptide receptors regulate cytoprotective effects in an ex vivo human 3D / bioreactor model. Arthritis Research & Therapy 24 July 2013.

Tags: Pharmaceuticals | Rheumatology | UK News

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Comments

1At 30/07/2013 02:33am chrisdbr wrote

does this mean that Collagen supplements might be able to reduce inflammation and repair cartilage?

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