Scientists discover promising protein to treat osteoarthritis

July 25, 2013

New research from Queen Mary, University of London suggests that a protein found predominantly in healthy cartilage, a type of tissue that allows the smooth movement of joints, could hold the key to treating osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a painful condition that results from the cartilage breaking down at the joints and leads to difficulties in moving around and being active.

Researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering in Queen Mary's School of Engineering and Materials Science created a synthetic gel of damaged cartilage similar to osteoarthritis in the lab, and added a protein called CNP that is naturally found in healthy .

They compressed and exposed the gel to forces that are similar to when a person does moderate exercise in real life.

Examining the gel samples after the experiment, they found two new protective proteins that have anti-inflammatory and reparative effects. They also found that the effects of CNP change as person gets older and has more diseased cartilage.

"While these are early results, the findings could be useful in treating osteoarthritis, which is the most common type of arthritis and affects more than 8 million people in the UK," explains Dr Nick Peake, co-author of the study from Queen Mary's Institute of Bioengineering.  

Dr Nick Peake added: "The important observation is the complementary effect of the CNP protein and the effect of compression on the cells. This multiplies the beneficial effects of both resulting in reduced inflammation and ."  

Lead researcher, Dr Tina Chowdhury, also from Queen Mary's Institute of Bioengineering, said: "We are very excited about the potential for this work and the next step is to replicate results in a diseased animal model before the benefits can be translated to patients.

"We are working closely with and clinicians at the William Harvey Research Institute and Royal London Hospital to make the work clinically feasible in the next five years."

Arthritis Research UK's Medical director, Professor Alan Silman welcomed the results of the study, adding:  "This is an exciting piece of research.  We know that exercise is essential to keep cartilage healthy and protect the joints against arthritis.

"Applying this knowledge to the treatment of , where loss is substantial, has been challenging.  If these preliminary results are validated in further research they could offer a novel and much needed approach to treating the underlying cause of this distressing disorder and not just reducing the symptoms." 

The research is funded by Arthritis Research UK and published in the journal Arthritis Research and Therapy.

Explore further: Researcher provides insight into osteoarthritis

Related Stories

Researcher provides insight into osteoarthritis

April 19, 2013
A researcher at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research has discovered additional mechanical properties of articular cartilage, a protective cartilage on the ends of bones that wears down over time, resulting in the ...

Naturally occurring molecule in the body may have important consequences for treating osteoarthritis

July 11, 2013
UK scientists have found a naturally occurring molecule in the body which may have important consequences for treating osteoarthritis. Researchers from The University of Manchester and the University of Westminster have found ...

Can stem cells help those with arthritis?

April 28, 2013
Stems cells taken from just a few grams of body fat are a promising weapon against the crippling effects of osteoarthritis.

Model recreates wear and tear of osteoarthritis

June 19, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—There's a reason osteoarthritis is often called wear-and-tear arthritis: Repeated stress on joints over time results in degeneration of the soft cartilage that normally distributes loads to the joints.

Arthritis cartilage shows mitochondrial dysfunction

November 19, 2012
(HealthDay)—Cartilage from osteoarthritis patients shows greater oxidative damage and mitochondrial dysfunction than healthy cartilage, which is associated with the downregulation of the superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) gene, ...

Cartilage damaged from exercise may aid in early osteoarthritis detection

April 2, 2013
Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disorder, affecting about one-third of older adults, and currently there is no cure. A study published by Cell Press April 2nd in the Biophysical Journal reveals how the nanoscale biomechanical ...

Recommended for you

Fluid in the knee holds clues for why osteoarthritis is more common in females

June 26, 2017
Researchers have more evidence that males and females are different, this time in the fluid that helps protect the cartilage in their knee joints.

Biologics before triple therapy not cost effective for rheumatoid arthritis

May 29, 2017
Stepping up to biologic therapy when methotrexate monotherapy fails offers minimal incremental benefit over using a combination of drugs known as triple therapy, yet incurs large costs for treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA). ...

Drug for refractory psoriatic arthritis shows promise in clinical trial

May 24, 2017
In a pivotal phase-3 clinical trial led by a Stanford University School of Medicine investigator, patients with psoriatic arthritis for whom standard-of-care pharmaceutical treatments have provided no lasting relief experienced ...

Cross-species links identified for osteoarthritis

May 17, 2017
New research from the University of Liverpool, published today in the journal npj Systems Biology and Applications, has identified 'cell messages' that could help identify the early stages of osteoarthritis (OA).

Osteoarthritis could be prevented with good diet and exercise

May 12, 2017
Osteoarthritis can potentially be prevented with a good diet and regular exercise, a new expert review published in the Nature Reviews Rheumatology reports.

Rodents with trouble walking reveal potential treatment approach for most common joint disease

May 11, 2017
Maintaining the supply of a molecule that helps to nourish cartilage prevented osteoarthritis in animal models of the disease, according to a report published in Nature Communications online May 11.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.