Jan 19, 2019 | Updated: 08:24 AM EST

Osteoarthritis Could Be Prevented By Removing Old Cells

Apr 28, 2017 12:10 AM EDT


A new research study suggests that selectively removing old cells from joints could stop the progression of osteoarthritis, the most chronic condition of the joints. The study also suggests that it could reverse the progression of the disease.

In a preclinical study of mice and human cells published last April 24 in Nature Medicine titled "Local clearance of senescent cells attenuates the development of post-traumatic osteoarthritis and creates a pro-regenerative environment," researchers show evidence that old senescent cells contribute to disease related to a person's age. It also demonstrates that using drug therapies to clean out the old cells from the joints could not only reduce the chances of post-traumatic osteoarthritis but also creates an avenue for cartilage to grow and repair joints.

These old cells accumulate in tissues as people age and it is a normal part of healing and repairing wound and injury. These cells secrete signals that call immune cells and other cell types into damaged tissue in order to rebuild and clean up.

But it is a different case for articular joints like knee and cartilage. These old cells are not cleared up often from the area after injury, therefore the prolonging presence leads to events that could cause the development of osteoarthritis, Science Daily has reported.

"Combine age-related increases in senescent cells, plus trauma, and it's a double whammy [that could lead to osteoarthritis]," Jennifer Elisseeff, the senior author of the study, said. She also serves as the director of translational tissue engineering center at the John Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute.

"What was most striking about the results in human tissue is the fact that removal of senescent cells had a profound effect on tissue from very advanced osteoarthritis patients, suggesting that even patients with advanced disease could benefit," Eliseeff added. Other researchers who have contributed to the experiment are Ok Hee Jeon, Chaekyu Kim, Remi-Martin Laberge, Marco Demaria, Sona Rathod, Alain P Vasserot, Jae Wook Chung, Do Hun Kim, Yan Poon, Nathaniel David, Darren J Baker, Jan M van Deursen, and Judith Campis.

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