-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Knees with osteoarthritis
are in a constant state of self-repair, but arthritic hip joints
are not, researchers say.
The discovery was a surprise, said study author Dr. Virginia
Kraus, a professor of rheumatology and immunology at Duke
University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.
The finding "suggests the knee has capacity for repair we didn't
know about and the main treatment strategy probably would need to
focus on turning off the breakdown of knee tissue," she said in a
Duke news release.
Knee and hip osteoarthritis may require different treatment
approaches, Kraus said. If joint breakdown could be halted, the
natural repair response in the knee might be sufficient to stop or
reverse the arthritis process.
"At least with the knee you've got an ongoing repair response that we didn't appreciate until now," Kraus said. "If you could capitalize on that and turn off the degradative (breakdown) processing you might have some good effects."
However, stopping the degenerative process in hips with
osteoarthritis may not be enough. The hips would also require a
treatment to stimulate factors to help begin repair.
In their study, Kraus and her colleagues identified an indicator
of hip-joint breakdown, specifically an altered protein called
D-COMP. In the circulation, it signals hip degeneration. In
cartilage, it provides insight into the repair response of joint
It's the first such "biomarker" specific to a particular joint
site and it may be possible to develop it into a tool for
monitoring hip-joint breakdown, Kraus said.
The study was published Feb. 10 in the
Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, typically
causes pain, swelling and restricted motion in the joints.
The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and
Skin Diseases has more about
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