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Hormone promises to keep joint injuries from causing long-term osteoarthritis
Date:9/12/2009

An existing osteoporosis drug is the first ever found to prevent cartilage loss from osteoarthritis following injury to a joint, and may also regenerate some cartilage that has been lost to osteoarthritis, according to an early study presented today at the annual meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research in Denver. While the study was in mice, the model closely mimics human osteoarthritis that develops following knee injuries, according to the study authors.

Cartilage can become damaged by many kinds of injury and by mechanical stresses that come with age. Over time, damaged cartilage deteriorates to cause osteoarthritis (OA), with its attendant joint inflammation and pain. Currently available drugs like steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (e.g. Advil, Aleve) reduce pain but do not address the loss of cartilage behind the osteoarthritis, which is projected to afflict more than 50 million Americans by 2020.

Cartilage forms the sponge-like, shock-absorbing layers that keep the impact of running and jumping and lifting from grinding bones against each other in joints. The cell type at the heart of osteoarthritis is the chondrocyte, the cartilage-producing cell responsible for maintaining the integrity of joint cartilage.

Outside of joints, chondrocytes undergo a normal maturation process that helps to form bone as part of fracture healing and bone growth in children. Disease processes and injury, however, cause chondrocytes in joint surface cartilage to become like those that help to heal bone elsewhere, but in a place where bone is not supposed to form. This mistaken maturation contributes to the gradual destruction of the joint seen in osteoarthritis.

Parathyroid hormone (PTH), known as teriparatide in drug form, has emerged as a major player in the maintenance and healing of bone, and the race is on to design new applications for it. Past studies have established that PTH prevents chondrocyte
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Contact: Greg Williams
Greg_Williams@urmc.rochester.edu
585-273-1757
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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