Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Slick and Springy: Brown Research Reveals Protein’s Role in Joints

10.04.2007
Experiments led by Brown University physician and engineer Gregory Jay, M.D., show a new role that the protein lubricin plays in synovial fluid – the slimy stuff jammed in joints. Lubricin, the team found, not only reduces friction but also boosts resiliency in joints. Results of the research, appearing on-line in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may lead to new treatments for arthritis.

Synovial fluid is slime with a serious purpose: Protecting shoulders, hips and other joints from wear, reducing the likelihood of injuries and arthritis.

Scientists have long believed that synovial fluid gets its surface-slicking, shock-absorbing properties from the “goo molecule” hyaluronate. But new research led by Brown University physician and engineer Gregory Jay, M.D., shows that the protein lubricin is also a player, not only lubricating cartilage but also giving synovial fluid its spring.

“Protein components like lubricin are just as key as hyaluronate for protecting joints,” Jay said. “What we hope to get out of this knowledge is better treatments for arthritis, one of the most common chronic health problems and the biggest cause of disability in the nation.”

... more about:
»Arthritis »hyaluronate »lubricin »synovial

Jay’s research, published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is clinically relevant. People with osteoarthritis in their knees can now get viscosupplementation, a medical procedure that involves an injection of hyaluronate directly into knee joints in an effort to reduce pain and improve movement. The new research shows that it might be beneficial to add lubricin into these injectable fluids, Jay said.

“Adding this protein to supplements could restore elasticity in synovial fluid and prevent damage to cartilage inside the joint,” he said. “These supplements could be an effective preventive treatment for arthritis or for sports injuries.”

Jay, a Rhode Island Hospital emergency physician and Brown associate professor of emergency medicine and engineering, has studied joint mechanics for 20 years. His lab spearheaded research into lubricin’s role as a “boundary lubricant” by reducing friction between opposing layers of cartilage inside joints.

In this new work, Jay and his team show how lubricin and hyaluronate work together to give synovial fluid its elastic property. The team found that these molecules act as weaver and wool: Lubricin gathers the long, thin, stiff polymers of hyaluronate together, creating structures that the researchers believe create shock-absorbing structures inside synovial fluid.

To study this molecular interaction, researchers put microscopic, fluorescent beads into two samples of synovial fluid. One sample was normal. The other came from a patient whose body doesn’t produce lubricin. This rare condition, called CACP syndrome, causes premature joint failure, often prompting the need for joint replacement surgeries for patients in their 20s.

Using a camera and a microscope, the research team observed how these beads moved through the fluid. Those movements were measured and – using a theory espoused by Albert Einstein – used to calculate viscosity and elasticity. The result: Synovial fluid that lacked lubricin wasn’t elastic – and wouldn’t be able to protect cartilage.

“Elasticity is distinct from boundary lubrication,” Jay said. “It’s a different protective feature.”

The research team included Kenneth Breuer, professor of engineering at Brown, Jahn Torres, a former engineering graduate student at Brown, Matthew Warman, associate professor in the Departments of Genetics and Pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and Matthew Laderer, a former undergraduate student at Brown.

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases funded the work.

Editors: Brown University has a fiber link television studio available for domestic and international live and taped interviews and maintains an ISDN line for radio interviews. For more information, call the Office of Media Relations at (401) 863-2476.

Wendy Lawton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.brown.edu

Further reports about: Arthritis hyaluronate lubricin synovial

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

nachricht Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>