Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cartilage discovery offers arthritis hope

10.01.2007
Scientists have revealed the intricate structure of cartilage in what they hope will provide clues to how the crippling joint disease osteoarthritis might one day be treated.

The disease, which affects more than five million people in the UK, is caused by the wear and tear of the smooth, hard cartilage tissue that covers the ends of bones allowing them to glide over one another at the joint.

Scientists have long known that cartilage gets its strength from interlocking millimetre-long collagen fibres that work in a similar way to the load-bearing steel rods in reinforced concrete.

But the precise structure of these fibres or ‘fibrils’ has remained a mystery for more than 40 years, so hindering any progress towards the development of potential therapies.

... more about:
»Osteoarthritis »cartilage »fibrils

Now, a team from The University of Manchester has used sophisticated electron microscope techniques to uncover the molecular structure of the thinner of the two types of collagen fibrils.

Professor Karl Kadler, who led the research in the Faculty of Life Sciences, said: “The ability of cartilage to withstand cycles of compression and relaxation is directly attributable to the collagen fibrils.

“Osteoarthritis occurs when the fibrils are disrupted or lost – just like concrete without the steel, the cartilage becomes mechanically weak and susceptible to wear and tear.

“Eventually, the cartilage breaks down altogether and sufferers experience severe pain as the two ends of the bones rub against each other.”

The team’s findings – published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – also explain why mutations in cartilage collagen genes cause osteoarthritis.

“Without a detailed understanding of the structure of these fibrils, a treatment that prevents them deteriorating would always prove elusive,” said Professor Kadler.

“This research, while just a beginning, at least establishes some basic scientific facts that could prove useful in future studies on osteoarthritis and related conditions.”

The next stage of the team’s work will be to determine the structure of the thicker fibrils and examine how collagen cells manage to produce these relatively large fibrous structures which are 1,000 times their own size.

Once scientists understand how the fibrils form and develop in healthy cartilage, they can then investigate what happens when things go wrong in diseases like osteoarthritis.

Aeron Haworth | alfa
Further information:
http://www.manchester.ac.uk

Further reports about: Osteoarthritis cartilage fibrils

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>