Two researchers from the Mechanical Engineering Department at Stanford University in California, found that obesity and Osteoarthritis may be linked. Adipokines - biomolecules produced by fat tissue have a massive role in joint decay.
Osteoarthritis, a condition affecting millions of adults means the breakdown of cartilage in the joints that can be painful and debilitating. We know that overweight individuals are at higher risk for developing osteoarthritis, thus, the assumption has been that this was due to the higher amount of force placed on the joints which then contributed to the breakdown of tissue.
Two researchers from the Mechanical Engineering Department at Stanford University in California, James Nishimuta and Marc Levenston, have been investigating the effects of adipokines on osteoarthritis. Adipokines are biomolecules produced by fat tissue. Nishimuta explained that over the past ten years "we have learned that adipokines at high levels have been linked to many obesity-related health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease”. In their study, the two examined how adipokines can contribute to the breakdown of joint tissues. In particular, Nishimuta and Levenston wanted to see “if the effects on cartilage and meniscus are different.”
The study could pave the way for novel, biologic pathways that could help with detection or therapeutic intervention.
What their study showed is that the meniscus is much more sensitive than cartilage to tissue breakdown induced by adipokines. The investigators are working to determine if the combination of high force and adipokines have any interaction in tissue breakdown.
The researchers work was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Orthopedic Research Society (ORS). Since its founding in the 1950's, the Orthopedic Research Society has been striving to be the world's leading forum for the dissemination of new musculoskeletal research findings. The ORS has of almost 3,000 clinicians (including orthopedic surgeons and veterinarians), engineers and biologists.