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New clues to healing arthritis caused by traumatic injury
Date:2/22/2009

id Bridgette Furman, research analyst and lead scientist of this study. "We thought, 'if they can regenerate cartilage in the ear, what about cartilage in the knee?' This happened in our pilot study, and we now have taken these results further and learned what happens in terms of inflammation. If you can figure out why the animal is a superhealer and apply that to people, then you may help prevent the development of arthritis."

In the latest experiment, the team got very clear results in the genetic response within injured tissue: the control mice showed a greater than 700-fold increase in the expression of one cytokine, interleukin(IL-1β) in the first four hours after a fracture and 37-fold difference in that cytokine level at 7 days after the fracture. Cytokines are signaling molecules produced by cells in response to injury. Interleukin generally promotes inflammation and an increase in temperature. The superhealer mice showed a similar trend, but in much lower amounts: a 70-fold peak in expression at day 0 down to a 3.5-fold increase by day 7.

A second cytokine, TNF-α, was also expressed at a significantly higher rate in the control mice after the fracture (from a 13-fold peak just after fracture to 5-fold at 7 days), while the superhealer mice showed no change in their levels of TNF-α at all over time.

"Current treatments on the market for rheumatoid arthritist include anakinra (Kineret, an IL-1 receptor antagonist) and etanercept (Enbrel, a tumor necrosis factor blocker)," said Farshid Guilak, Ph.D., study scientist and director of the Orthopaedic Bioengineering Laboratory in the Duke Department of Surgery. "In future studies, we plan to use these rheumatoid arthritis drugs right after a fracture to inhibit inflammatory cytokines in the normal mice. If a reduced inflammatory response is what helps the superhealers, we would like to know whether controlling inflammation in fracture patients can prevent arthritis."


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Contact: Mary Jane Gore
mary.gore@duke.edu
919-660-1309
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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