Arthritis

Updated 14 December 2015

HRT helps relieve arthritis

Hormone replacement therapy directed to joint fluid may help regenerate damaged cartilage tissue in people with advanced osteoarthritis, according to German researchers.

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Their study aimed to examine the regenerative potential of a type of cell -- chondrogenic progenitor cells, or CPCS -- that is present in the late stages of osteoarthritis. The researchers speculated that these cells might be influenced by the sex hormones estrogen, which has been shown to affect bone metabolism, and testosterone.

They analysed tissue samples from 372 men and women with arthritis who'd had a total knee replacement. Most were in their early 70s.

In the joint fluid of the participants, they found 17 beta-estradiol, a form of oestrogen, which they said increases calcium deposition in both sexes. And, in the osteoarthritic tissue, they found CPCs positive for oestrogen receptors and androgen receptors.

The researchers, also found that unique CPCs were present in the cartilage of people with late-stage osteoarthritis (OA).

"We were able to isolate CPCs in 95.48% of female patients and 96.97% of male patients, making these cells a good target for future therapeutic intervention for a very large number of OA patients," Dr Nicolai Miosge, from August University in Goettingen, said in a news release from Wiley-Blackwell, which publishes Arthritis & Rheumatism.

"Hormone replacement therapy in joint fluid may help mitigate the effects of OA," Miosge concluded, adding that further investigation was needed.

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Professor Asgar Ali Kalla completed his MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 1975 at the University of Cape Town and his FRCP in 2003 in London. Professor Ali Kalla is the Isaac Albow Chair of Rheumatology at the University of Cape Town and also the Head of Division of Rheumatology at Groote Schuur Hospital. He has participated in a number of clinical trials for rheumatology and is active in community outreach. Prof Ali Kalla is an expert in Arthritis for Health24.

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