Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study: testing for joint substance in blood might improve diagnosis of osteoarthritis

28.02.2005


Measuring a biological chemical called hyaluronan found naturally in joints and the fluid that lubricates cartilage might enable doctors to diagnose osteoarthritis of the knee and hip earlier or more accurately, a new study concludes. Improving diagnosis of the painful inflammatory disorder should become increasingly important as baby boomer age, doctors say.



The research, conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and in Johnston County, N.C., revealed that levels of the chemical, also known as HA, in blood samples corresponded with how advanced osteoarthritis was in a group of rural patients, both blacks and whites. "Our study shows statistically significant differences in average levels of serum hyaluronan (HA) between individuals with osteoarthritis of the knee as shown on X rays and those without knee or hip osteoarthritis," said study director Dr. Joanne M. Jordan. "Serum HA levels not only were associated with the presence of osteoarthritis but also showed a trend of increasing values as severity of the disease increased."

Jordan is associate professor of medicine and orthopaedics at the UNC School of Medicine. Also associate director of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center, she is principal investigator for the long-term Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project. That investigation is the largest of its kind ever done and involves more than 3,000 volunteers whose health and experiences with arthritis doctors follow and analyze. A report on the findings appears in the January issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal published by the American College of Rheumatology.


Besides Jordan, UNC schools of medicine and public health authors are Dr. Alan L. Elliott, a rheumatology fellow; Dr. Jordan Renner, professor of radiology and allied health sciences; and Anca D. Dragomir and Gheorghe Luta, doctoral students in epidemiology and biostatistics, respectively. Dr. Virginia B. Kraus, associate professor of medicine, and Thomas Stabler, both at Duke University, Dr. Charles D. Helmick of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Dr. Marc C. Hochberg of the University of Maryland also participated in the study.

Hyaluronan is produced by cells of what is called the extracellular matrix, Jordan said. It is thought to contribute to lubricating joints, a process without which walking and running would be unbearably painful. Earlier work suggested HA might serve as a sign, or biomarker, of osteoarthritis. "Our study is unique in that it consisted of a large, ethically diverse, population-based sample of African Americans and Caucasians and incorporates five definitions of osteoarthritis as shown on X rays," she said. "This was the first study of hyaluronan and osteoarthritis to include African Americans and to consider how other health problems commonly occurring with osteoarthritis might confound the relationship between serum HA and osteoarthritis."

The researchers studied 753 subjects, including 455 with osteoarthritis in their knees. Volunteers ranged in age from about 51 to 72 and averaged almost 62. About 39 percent suffered from high blood pressure, the most common other illness. The least common was cancer. Average serum HA levels correlated with age, Jordan said. Whites and men showed higher levels than blacks and women, which could reflect genetic or physiologic factors. Such sex and racial differences would need to be taken into account when determining the usefulness of HA and other potential biomarker testing.

Medical scientists have known for the past decade that levels of an important protein known as COMP were higher in cartilage, ligaments, tendons and joint lubricating fluid of whites with osteoarthritis than in whites without the painful, degenerative illness, Jordan said. In 2003, she and her UNC colleagues showed for the first time that the same thing is true in blacks. They also found average levels of the protein to be higher in blacks -- both patients and others -- than in whites and higher among white men than among white women. "These discoveries are likely to be important in the search for better ways to predict who is at strong risk of developing osteoarthritis, who has it already and whose illness is most likely to progress," Jordan said.

Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, afflicts almost a million North Carolinians and more than 21 million people nationally, including many adults over age 65, the physician said. Some estimates suggest that as many as 70 million Americans will suffer from some form of arthritis within the next 20 years as baby boomers age.

Support for the research came from the CDC, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and the Arthritis Foundation.

David Williamson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unc.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>