Navigation Links
First-ever study: lack of critical lubricant causes wear in joints

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] Mice that dont produce lubricin, a thin film of protein found in the cartilage of joints, showed early wear and higher friction in their joints, a new study led by Brown University researchers shows.

This link between increased friction and early wear in joints is a first; no other team of scientists has proven this association before. The finding, published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, sheds important light on how joints work. The discovery also suggests that lubricin, or a close cousin, could be injected directly into hips, knees or other joints inflamed from arthritis or injury a preventive treatment that could reduce the need for painful and costly joint replacement surgery.

In an editorial that accompanies the journal article, orthopedics researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago call the research an important contribution to the field and note that the use of biomolecules like lubricin to prevent joint wear could have a substantial clinical impact, if successful.

Gregory Jay, M.D, a Rhode Island Hospital emergency physician and an associate professor of emergency medicine and engineering at Brown, led the research. For 20 years, Jay has studied lubricins role as a boundary lubricant by reducing friction between opposing layers of cartilage inside joints. In this new work, Jay and his colleagues set out to answer the next question: Does reducing friction actually prevent wear, or surface damage, in joints?

To find out, Jay and his team studied cartilage from the knees of mice that dont produce lubricin. Directly after birth, the cartilage was smooth. But in as little as two weeks, researchers found, the cartilage began to show signs of wear. Under an electron microscope, scientists could see that the collagen fibers that cartilage is composed of were breaking up, giving the surface a rough, frayed appearance. This damage is called wear, an early sign of joint disease or injury.

Jay and his team then took the work a step further. To better understand how lubricin works, they tried to see the structure of the film. So they put a tiny bit of the protein under an atomic force microscope. At the nanoscale, the molecule appeared as a mesh row upon row of interlocking fibers that could repel a microscope probe. This repulsion, created with water and electrical charges, shows how lubricin acts as a buffer, keeping opposing layers of cartilage apart.

We demonstrated that lubricin reduces both friction and wear and also showed how, on a molecular level, it does this work in the body, Jay said. Whats exciting are the clinical implications. Arthritis and sports injuries damage the joints of thousands of people in the United States and millions of people worldwide each year. Our aim is to make a treatment that can actually prevent wear in the joints.

Through Rhode Island Hospital, Jay has filed two patents on the protein and its sequences and, in 2004, helped form Tribologics, a biotech company formed out of Rhode Island Hospital. The Massaschusetts-based business is developing an injection treatment for inflamed joints that contains lubricin.


Contact: Wendy Lawton
Brown University

Related biology news :

1. Study: diabetic neuropathy costs billions per year in lost work time
2. Study: Fountain of youth for your heart?
3. Critically endangered Amur leopard captured
4. Hidden interactions between predators and prey: evolution causes cryptic dynamics in ecology
5. Grubs passion for plastic causes water loss
6. St. Jude identifies the specific cell that causes eye cancer, disproving long-held theory
7. Influenza vaccine causes weaker immune response for children of rural Gabon than in semi-urban areas
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/8/2015)... , October 8, 2015 ... or the "Company"), a biometric authentication company focused ... of the Wocket® smart wallet announces that revenues ... were approximately $410,000 compared with $113,00 for the ... the 9 months ended September 30, 2015 were ...
(Date:10/5/2015)... 2015 ) ... Inc. (NASDAQ: NXTD ), a biometric authentication company ... ) releases the following market ... ), a biometric authentication company focused on the growing ... ( ) releases the following market ...
(Date:9/30/2015)... YORK , Sept. 30, 2015  The global glucose ... billion for 2015. So says a new report on the ... diabetes management segment dominate the market, followed by continuous glucose ... publisher. Kalorama reports on the market for these products in its ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)... Mass. and TORONTO , Oct. ... GNBT) today announced that it has entered into a non-binding ... ), a private Israeli company that has developed a proprietary ... infertile due to varicoceles. the United States ... between the ages of 25 and 44 diagnosed ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... Proove ... to announce their partnership with the Keck Medicine of the University of ... , The T.R.O.J.A.N. Study (Therapeutic Evaluation to Research Clinical Objectives Linking Genotypic and ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... ... Spirax Sarco, the leader in products and services for steam system solutions ... generator . This unit is a skid mounted system that is designed to ... The CMS-C 600 generator can produce up to a maximum of 1,275 lb./hr. ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... , October 12, 2015 cell surface ... billion by 2022, according to a new report by Grand ... to rise in incidence of oncology diseases and other cell-associated ... is expected to reach USD 6.49 billion by 2022, according ... growth in demand can be attributed to rise in incidence ...
Breaking Biology Technology: