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 New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck

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: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>