Navigation Links
What's been causing your knee to ache? Smurfs!
Date:10/18/2007

A new clinical trial seeks to predict who is most likely to experience osteoarthritis, and to test whether an experimental treatment can prevent it altogether. Physicians are setting their sights on people who sustain a knee injury, seeking to understand why nearly half of them will later go on to develop osteoarthritis, a debilitating condition that causes pain and disability in more than 20 million Americans each year.

The work is funded by a special class of National Institutes of Health grants awarded to research programs that show promise of quickly translating basic science discoveries into patient treatments. In this case, initial research has shown that an enzyme which controls the response of cells to growth factors may in fact be a major cause of osteoarthritis. The enzymes are called "Smad Ubiquitination Regulatory Factors, or, smurfs, but unlike the small, loveable blue cartoon characters, researchers believe that a particular form of these regulatory enzymes, smurf2, might in fact be responsible for Americas leading cause of disability.

We believe that smurf2 controls whether or not a cartilage cell matures and calcifies into hard bone, which is a very good thing when turned on in those areas of the body where we are supposed to have hard bone, said Randy Rosier, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Orthopaedics and director of Research Translation in Orthopaedics at the University of Rochester Medical Center. But when smurf2 is active in joint cartilage, it may set off a chain reaction that leads to the steady deterioration of the smooth gliding surface tissue, or cartilage, which comprises the joint surface. When this occurs, the cartilage breaks down and severely damages the weight-bearing surface of a joint. Or, put another way, activation of smurf2 in the joint cartilage appears to significantly contribute to the onset of osteoarthritis.

Frog Embryos and Cartilage Cells

Over the past decade, smurfs have begun to capture the attention of scientists, after a research team led by Gerald H. Thomsen, Ph.D., at Stony Brook University, identified the enzymes critical role in regulating levels of important molecules that help determine which genes are turned on or off in a variety of cells throughout the body. In fact, Rosier first became intrigued with smurfs after reading about how they helped cell differentiation in frog embryos.

I got to wondering what, if any, control smurfs might have on cartilage cell development and maturation, he said.

And so, over the course of several years, Rosier and his research team conducted a series of experiments that not only identified the role of smurf2 in bone cell and cartilage signaling, but uncovered its vital link to osteoarthritis.

First, the team compared healthy and diseased cartilage, and discovered that smurf2 was only present in osteoarthritic cartilage. They next demonstrated that smurf2s are stimulated by inflammation, and are expressed in cartilage within a few months following an injury.

Further experiments showed that smurf2 was present in the joints of patients in early-stage arthritis, when patients might begin to experience mild discomfort, but long before other well-known molecular markers of osteoarthritis began to emerge.

It was at this point that we knew smurf2s are not just a casual bystander in arthritis, but rather, the catalyst that sets off the chain reaction that leads to osteoarthritis, Rosier said

Rosier is now teaming with sports medicine surgeon Michael Maloney, M.D., to conduct the just underway clinical trial. The team will examine tissue samples from healthy, non-arthritic patients who have sustained an injury to the meniscus to determine the level of smurf2 expression in their cartilage at the beginning of the trial. In addition, a baseline MRI will measure the cartilage at the point of injury, and three years later. If results confirm the teams earlier findings, the MRIs of patients with high smurf2 expression will show the beginning signs of osteoarthritis as measured by hardening of the cartilage and bone loss.

Our ultimate goal is to create a simple diagnostic test to determine whether a person with a knee injury has a high level of smurf2s in their cartilage, Rosier said. In these cases, physicians can advise the patient to stop high-intensity, wear-and-tear activity, slowing the onset of arthritis and lessening its severity. Eventually, we hope to create an injection that will stop smurf2s ability to turn on the calcification and degeneration process in cartilage that leads to osteoarthritis.

While Rosier admits the development of an injection is a long time off, he believes that physician counseling will do a world of good and thats good news for a disease that is estimated to cost the United States about $42 billion a year.

Think of a 25-year male old who tears his meniscus. Today, after successfully removing the torn meniscus fragment and physical therapy, in most cases, hes right back to his regular activity level, Rosier said. But if his physician can tell him with certainty that he will develop osteoarthritis, he has the opportunity to change his activity level, reducing his risk and severity of osteoarthritis.


'/>"/>

Contact: Germaine Reinhardt
Germaine_Reinhardt@urmc.rochester.edu
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Poor health care in Russia maybe causing Decline in its Population
2. Multi billion-dollar suit filed against cell phone firm for causing brain tumours
3. Protein causing spread of colon cancer identified
4. Ulcer causing bug found in stored food
5. Colon cancer risk linked to genes causing Hemochromatosis
6. Head injury X-rays may actually be causing harm
7. Breathing Cancer Causing Compounds During Pregnancy Found To Affect Offspring
8. Cancer Causing Herpes Virus At Last May Have A Cure
9. Arthritis drugs are causing skin problems
10. Tetanus causing toxin has therapeutic properties
11. Reason for diabetes drug causing edema discovered
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... has seen a significant spike in their clients' employee participation for their wellness ... health screening by implementing a high-deductible health plan with outcome-based deductible incentives. As ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... ... Stern Environmental Group , of Secaucus, New Jersey, working in conjunction ... Real Time Monitoring (RTM) Device. Stern Environmental Group will sell the first monitoring ... use in dormitories, shelters, and nursing homes for real time bedbug monitoring in May ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... ... (Rudy) Cifolelli has joined the company as Vice President of Sales. Cifolelli’s ... U.S. and international sales in the rapidly expanding field of organizational social engineering. ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... ... Jericho Project has named LaToya Williams-Belfort to the position of Chief Development and ... for the nationally-acclaimed nonprofit, working closely with CEO Tori Lyon and the Board of ... roots. , “LaToya Williams-Belfort is joining Jericho at an exciting time of growth ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... , ... How to Write Error Free Procedures, **Presented by Ginette M. Collazo ... is known to be the major cause of quality and production losses in many ... human performance problems can be prevented. , How to Write Error Free Procedures, part ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2016)... 24, 2016 Open Access Journal ... Neurophysiology  Elsevier , a world-leading provider ... today announced the launch of Clinical Neurophysiology ... that focuses on clinical practice issues in clinical neurophysiology. ... series, normal values and didactic reviews. It is an ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... 23, 2016 According to ... Market by Product (Wheelchair, Scooters, Medical Beds, Bathroom ... Critical Care, Wound), Accessories (Lifting, Transfer) & by ... published by MarketsandMarkets, the patient handling equipment market ... 2021 at a CAGR of 10.5% during the ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... Transparency Market Research has published ... Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, ... report, the exocrine pancreatic insufficiency market is anticipated to ... 2023 to reach US$2.85 Bn by 2023. ... the deficiency of the exocrine pancreatic enzymes, causing failure ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: