Osteoarthritis as an organ disease: from the cradle to the grave

Richard M. Aspden (Corresponding Author), Fiona Saunders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Considered for decades as a cartilage disease, recent studies of osteoarthritis (OA) take us back to the concepts discussed at the naming of the disorder as “bone-joint-inflammation”. By describing the joint as an organ, can OA be called an organ disease – similar to heart disease? Is there a systemic (which system?) involvement? Would this help with diagnosis or therapy? Hyperplasia of the joint tissues is one of the most notable early features of the disease: articular cartilage thickens, chondrocytes proliferate and increase matrix biosynthesis, but not its incorporation; the subchondral bone densifies but is hypomineralised and there is an increase in bone marrow fat content. Associations between OA and hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia and blood glucose suggest systemic and metabolic components are involved. The source of pain is still unknown but here is evidence for peripheral and central sensitisation. Joint deformity is difficult to quantify, but statistical shape modelling provides a tool to use as an imaging biomarker. A genome-wide association study meta-analysis has identified novel genes associated with hip shape with many genes related to tissue growth and development. There are associations between hip shapes and age of first walking as well as with obesity through adulthood. These life-course events and a recapitulation in old age of developmental processes suggest that the cradle may affect our path to the grave. These observations suggest that tissue regeneration approaches, treating only the cartilage in OA joints, may only be of limited benefit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-87
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Cells & Materials
Volume37
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2019

Keywords

  • osteoarthritis
  • joint
  • systemic disease
  • metabolic disease
  • aetiology
  • growth
  • hyperplasia
  • development
  • Growth
  • Hyperplasia
  • Joint
  • Aetiology
  • Metabolic disease
  • Systemic disease
  • Development
  • Osteoarthritis
  • SUBCHONDRAL BONE PLATE
  • FEMORAL-HEAD
  • CRUCIATE LIGAMENT INTEGRITY
  • ILIAC CREST BONE
  • HIP SHAPE
  • SINGLE IMPACT LOAD
  • OLIGOMERIC MATRIX PROTEIN
  • HUMAN ARTICULAR-CARTILAGE
  • BODY-MASS INDEX
  • KNEE OSTEOARTHRITIS

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