Osteoarthritis has become one fo the most common and debilitating age-related diseases in the United States today. As with all diseases prevention is key so you may be excited to learn that a new study has revealed a possible treatment strategy.
Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in San Diego, CA, reveal that proteins called FoxO are key for joint health. They have found that if they can boost the levels of FoxO proteins in the body then they might have found a way to treat osteoarthritis, or, better still, even stop the disease from developing.
Senior study author Dr. Martin Lotz, from the Department of Molecular Medicine at TSRI and his team recently reported their results in the journal Science Translational Medicine. The link at the bottom of the article will take you to the actual results.
It is estimated that approximately 30 million adults in the United States alone are suffering with Osteoarthritis. These staggering statistics make it the most common type of arthritis which is also referred to as degenerative joint disease. In basic terms it is the breakdown of cartilage. Cartilage is normally present on the ends of each bone as they meet to form the joint. The cartilage literally acts as a buffer to prevent the two bones from rubbing directly against each during movement and also as a cushion during activities that promote impact. The disease affects the cartilage by breaking it down and leaving bone on bone which causes reduced range in motion and severe pain. The joints that are most affected are the knees, hips and joints of the hands.
In a previous study completed by Dr. Lotz and his team they found that FoxO proteins were reduced when cartilage was reduced. From their latest study they also found that reduced levels of FoxO proteins meant that the cartilage broke down at a much younger age and also did not provide the same level of cushioning during activity.
At the moment the research is still in its’ infancy. The next stage will be to create molecules that can increase FoxO levels and then assess their effects in experimental osteoarthritis models. They are hopeful that drugs that boost the expression and activity of FoxO could be a strategy for preventing and treating osteoarthritis in the future.