Study reveals new factor in development of osteoarthritis

A recent study by Rush University Medical Center in partnership with Northwestern University on the development of osteoarthritis (OA) has yielded exciting results.

Researchers believe that they have isolated a molecular mechanism that could lead to the formation of OA. In turn, this could have long-term implications for the future treatment of OA.

“Clinically, scientists have focused on trying to understand how cartilage and joints degenerate in osteoarthritis,” said lead author Anne-Marie Malfait, M.D., associate professor of biochemistry and of internal medicine at Rush. “But no one knows why it hurts.”

The study, which was published in the print version of the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was conducted by Malfait and her colleagues examined the occurrence of joint pain while also monitoring sensory neurons in the knees of participants.

This approach, which researchers noted is unique to OA studies, allowed them to compare data over a period of time. Through extended observation of participants, researchers identified a particular molecular mechanism – monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1 (CCL2) and its receptor, chemokine receptor 2 (CCR2) – as essential to the development of localized OA pain the knees.

“Increased expression of both MCP-1 and its receptor CCR2 may mediate increased pain signaling through direct excitation of DRG neurons, as well as through attracting macrophages to the DRG [dorsal root ganglia, or nerves that carry messages to the brain],” the researchers added.

By targeting the evolution of OA pain rather than tracking the breakdown of cartilage or other effects caused by the condition, researchers hope to provide individuals experiencing OA a more successful prevention and treatment option.

According to the National Institutes of Health, OA is characterized by the deterioration of cartilage, which can cause bones to rub together. This can damage joint health and lead to knee pain.

Age, leading a sedentary lifestyle and obesity are among the causes of OA, which can be treated with exercise, weight loss, surgery and pain relief medications. Calcium deficiency can also be a factor because it reduces the strength of bones, making them more brittle over time.

Calcium-related deficiencies can result in poor bone strength, but by pursuing a balanced diet and incorporating all-natural supplements by Dr. Newton’s Naturals like CalMax Original, it’s easy to boost the body’s calcium and magnesium levels. CalMax Original also supports joint, heart and digestive health and could be essential in preventing the development of osteoarthritis.