Wear and tear on joints can lead to inflammation, breakdown of cartilage and development of osteoarthritis. Scientists at UF Scripps Biomedical Research have found a possible new target to fight this painful cascade.
In a study published Thursday in the journal PLOS One, biochemist Patrick Griffin, Ph.D., and colleague Mi Ra Chang, Ph.D., describe a specific protein that manages activities within chondrocytes, a critical cell type that maintains healthy cartilage in joints.
As people age and stress their joints, their chondrocytes begin to fail. The UF Scripps team found that activating a specific protein in these cells called RORβ (beta) could restore multiple factors needed for smooth joints to healthier levels, helping to control inflammation. Activating RORβ could thus present a useful new strategy to prevent or delay development of the degenerative joint disease osteoarthritis, said Griffin, a professor of molecular medicine and scientific director of UF Scripps Biomedical Research.