Knee Arthritis May Speed Up Process Linked to Cell Aging
with osteoarthritis have increased cell deterioration nearest to damaged
joint, study finds
By Robert Preidt, Health Day News, National Library of Medicine, National
Institutes of Health
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
January 17, 2012. (HealthDay News) -- A process linked to natural cell aging
has now also been associated with knee osteoarthritis, researchers say.
Telomeres -- lengths of DNA on the ends of chromosomes, sometimes described
as being like the plastic cap on a shoelace tip -- naturally shorten with
age, but can also shorten due to sudden cell damage. Abnormally short
telomeres have been found in some types of cancer and preliminary research
has suggested that the average telomere length is also shortened in
In this new study, Danish researchers used new technology to closely examine
the telomeres of cells taken from the knees of osteoarthritis patients who
had joint replacement surgery.
The cells had abnormally shorted telomeres and the percentage of cells with
ultra-short telomeres increased with proximity to the damaged area in the
knee joint, according to the findings published in the Jan. 16 online
edition of the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy.
"The telomere story shows us that there are, in theory, two processes going
on in osteoarthritis. Age-related shortening of telomeres, which leads to
the inability of cells to continue dividing and so to cell senescence
[deterioration], and ultra-short telomeres, probably caused by compression
stress during use, which lead to senescence and failure of the joint to
repair itself," study leader Maria Harbo said in a journal news release.
"We believe the second situation to be the most important in osteoarthritis.
The damaged cartilage could add to the mechanical stress within the joint
and so cause a feedback cycle driving the progression of the disease," she
SOURCE: Arthritis Research & Therapy, news release, Jan. 16, 2012