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Gene Expression is Related to Arthritis Severity

Gene expression may impact severity of arthritis pain and lead to developments in personalizing medical care for these patients.

Gene expression may impact severity of arthritis pain and lead to developments in personalizing medical care for these patients, according to findings published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research.

Researchers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories in California studied 1,446 genes differentially expressed in injured joints in order to determine the cause of post-traumatic osteoarthritis from joint injury. The team also observed 18 long, non-coding RNAs in the injured joints whose functionality had not been fully investigated previously. These joints were observed at one day and one, six and 12 weeks after injury in mice models of ACL ruptures from a single high impact injury.

The study provides insight into gene expression changes linked to post-traumatic osteoarthritis development and the progression in the ACL rupture animal model, the researchers explained. The researchers said their study is the first account of whole genome expression profiles to collect new information into the temporal progression of the disease.

“By comparing our data to gene-expression data generated using the surgical destabilization of the medial meniscus post-traumatic osteoarthritis model, we identified several common genes and shared mechanisms,” said study co leader Gaby Loots, an LLNL biologist who leads the team. “Our study highlights several differences between these two models and suggests that the tibial compression model may be a more rapidly progressing model of post traumatic osteoarthritis.”

The researchers believe that by identifying and characterizing the biomarkers of arthritis they will be able to detect and track disease progression and develop pharmacologic interventions aimed at minimizing cartilage damage. This would increase the personalization of each arthritis treatment and allow them to be administered immediately following injury, the researchers reported.

“This study provides the first account of gene expression changes associated with PTOA development and progression in this tibial compression model,” said researcher Aimy Sebastian.

Post traumatic osteoarthritis occurs in about half of all ACL tear patients within 10 to 20 years of their injury, the study authors added. However, the cellular mechanisms leading to post traumatic osteoarthritis were not previously understood.