Cartilage cannot heal on its own, and degeneration of cartilage from a lifetime of moving can lead to arthritis.
Now, Korean researchers have identified a potential key to regenerative treatments for arthritis, …by understanding how frog embryos form facial cartilage.
In inflammatory arthritis, an enzyme destroys cartilage and causes inflammation.
The researchers have found a protein which protects the cartilage from such destruction and even helps with regeneration.
"We have identified the ITGBL1 protein, and found that its expression in cartilage cells helps cartilage development and suppresses inflammatory responses."
The researchers also found that the protein protects joint cartilage in human cells, …increasing the possibility of developing treatments.
"The biggest problem with stem cell therapy is loss of cell identity. Since ITGBL1 has the ability to maintain the properties of cartilage cells, it's better suited for treatment."
The researchers are continuing their work on the development of cell therapy for arthritis.
The study was published in the online edition of Science Translational Medicine.
Park Se-young, Arirang News.