Study of large, ethnically diverse population shows strong association between high levels of hyaluronic acid and severe osteoarthritis of the knees and hips
chronic degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis (OA) is a common cause of pain and disability among older Americans. OA of the knee affects up to 6 percent of the older population, while OA of the hip affects about another 3 percent. While treatments vary, there is hope that early intervention – before joint destruction can be clearly seen and measured on an X-ray image-will improve outcomes.
The need for better ways to assess OA’s activity from its onset has led researchers to investigate possible biomarkers, particularly those related to cartilage and bone turnover. A biomarker is substance found in the blood or joint fluid whose levels can be used to assess the presence or activity of a disease. Among likely candidates for a biomarker for OA is hyaluronic acid, also known as hyaluronan or simply HA. HA is a component of connective tissue that is widely distributed throughout the body and plays an important role in joint function. A recent study, published in the January 2005 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritis), strongly supports the relationship between increased production of HA and increased risk for OA, specifically of the knees and hips, among ethnically diverse men and women.
Amy Molnar | EurekAlert!
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