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Archive for January 4th, 2013

OA and pain

January 4, 2013

Knee pain is a common symptom of osteoarthritis, and can be debilitating.

Recent research by Dr. Malfait at Rush University has identified a key component of the mechanism of ostoearthritis pain.  Knee pain is felt in the lower extremity and then relayed through the spine up into the brain.  In the brain, pain from osteoarthritis is primarily interpreted by proteins and receptors called MCP-1/CCR2.

Several mice that were genetically altered to have deficiencies of MCP-1 and CCR2 experienced less pain when given osteoarthritis.  This observation is important because it looks into an unexplored area of potential treatment.  Instead of simply addressing the mechanical causes of pain (including inflammation and deterioration), this research offers the potential to directly reduce pain in osteoarthritis.

Any discussion of pain should include the healthy role of pain in the body.   Pain serves to relay information about injury, and so elimination of pain receptors could allow progression of ostoearthritis in joints, further worsening the joints.  The identification of MCP-1 and CCR2 offers the potential for the isolated treatment of osteoarthritis pain without compromising the healthy pain systems of the body.