Osteoarthritis: Molecular Mechanisms and Treatments



Osteoarthritis (OA) is an aging-associated joint disease with degeneration of articular cartilage. OA is also caused or accelerated by trauma and joint injuries. Pathological features of OA are characterized by articular cartilage breakdown with inflammation in synovium, osteophyte formation and changes in subchondral bone, followed by eventual joint destruction. During development OA, Joint homeostasis, entire environment of joint that is necessary for maintaining the joint in a healthy condition, is altered and such global alterations seem to affect chondrocyte metabolisms and cartilage reparatory capacity. Recent several reports also indicated that osteoarthritic conditions in the joint affect the clinical outcomes of the cartilage repair treatments and treating joints with OA still remains challenging. Therefore to understand the molecular mechanisms of OA is an essential step to treat OA and to obtain better clinical outcomes after cartilage repair procedures. One of the trends in recent research is development or discovery of disease modifying osteoarthritis drugs (DMOADs) which can counteract against causative factors for OA. DMODAs are expected to alleviate patient’s symptoms and slow down the progression of OA or prevent OA. Some pharmacological agents and growth factors are being investigated in clinical trials. In the future, DMOADs can be introduced as a new therapeutic approach for treatment of OA and possibly some of the DMOADs could be combined with cartilage repair techniques.


Osteoarthritis Molecular mechanisms Pathological conditions Joint homeostasis DMOADs 


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© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryKobe University Graduate School of MedicineChuo-ku, KobeJapan

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