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Protein level may serve as predictor of severe osteoarthritis
Date:7/29/2009

Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common joint disorder throughout the world and a leading cause of disability, is characterized by pain, impaired joint mobility, reduction of muscular strength and loss of joint function. Unlike most other common diseases, little is known about its origins, and factors predicting a severe disease course have not been identified. A new study, the first to establish a laboratory marker for the risk of severe OA, found that vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1), was a strong predictor of hip and knee joint replacement due to severe OA. The study was published in the August issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritis).

Led by Georg Schett of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Erlangen, Germany, the study involved 912 healthy individuals in Bruneck, Italy, 60 of whom underwent hip or knee replacement surgery due to severe OA in a 15-year follow-up period. Subjects underwent a baseline exam in 1990 and followup exams were performed every five years until 2005. Blood samples were analyzed for VCAM-1, a sialoglycoprotein (a combination sugar and protein) expressed on cells in the cartilage and connective tissue.

The results showed that VCAM-1 levels were substantially elevated in the 60 individuals who underwent joint replacement, with the highest baseline levels seen in those who underwent bilateral joint replacement. "The level of VCAM-1 emerged as a significant predictor of the risk of joint replacement due to severe OA, equaling or even surpassing the effects of age," the authors state. They also note that inclusion of VCAM-1 levels in risk prediction models resulted in a more accurate classification of individuals.

VCAM-1 promotes leukocyte adhesion and homing to sites of inflammation. In chondrocytes (cartilage cells), VCAM-1 expression is induced by inflammatory cytokines (proteins
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Contact: Jennifer Beal
medicalnews@wiley.com
44-124-377-0633
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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