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US Army: Pre-injury cartilage biomarkers associated with subsequent ACL injuries
Date:7/16/2012

Baltimore, Md., July 14, 2012 U.S. Army researchers made a surprising discovery while examining the impact of an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear (a common knee injury), on four serum biomarkers associated with cartilage health. The researchers found that pre-injury concentrations for all but one of the four serum biomarkers studied were associated with the subsequent likelihood of ACL injury. The findings were presented today at the annual meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM).

"We expected to see post-injury differences in biomarkers, but were astonished that the biomarkers showed measurable differences months or years prior to injury," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steven Svoboda, M.D., during his presentation, titled The Association between Serum Biomarkers of Cartilage Turnover and Subsequent Anterior Cruciate Ligament Rupture. "If we can identify people predisposed to ACL tears, one day we may be able to prevent injuries before they occur."

Svoboda, an orthopedic surgeon at Keller Army Community Hospital in West Point, N.Y., is director of the John A. Feagin, Jr., Sports Medicine Fellowship and head team physician for the West Point football program. Svoboda presented the Army research findings at the AOSSM's O'Donoghue Sports Injury Research Award Presentation. This award is given annually to the best overall paper that deals with clinical based research or human in-vivo research.

Researchers measured pre-injury levels of four biomarkers of cartilage turnover and metabolism in 45 ACL-injured subjects and 45 control subjects who were matched to the injured subjects by height, sex, weight and age to see if there were differences. Pre-injury samples for all subjects were stored in the Department of Defense Serum Repository, which maintains serum samples drawn from service members at various points during their military careers.

They found that small differences (1 nanogram/milliliter) i
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