University Of TorontoOsteoarthritis is said to be a group of diseases and mechanical abnormalities concerning degradation of joints, as well as articular cartilage and the subchondral bone next to it. Well, study experts from University of Toronto and the SickKids Hospital have apparently discovered a pharmacological approach to treating osteoarthritis.

Around 200 million people all over the world suffer from Osteoarthritis. It is a chronic and incapacitating disease but apparently it is not a paediatric condition.

“If used in patients this could be the first example of a treatment to prevent the degeneration of joints. It would be a true biological approach to attack the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis,” commented, study’s principal investigator, Benjamin Alman, professor of surgery at the University of Toronto and head of orthopaedic surgery and senior scientist at SickKids.

The experts had been exploring the function of a family of proteins known as Hedgehog and how they play a role in the growth of cartilage tumors. At that time, they supposedly hit upon an unforeseen observation. They discovered that when Hedgehog proteins were triggered in mice, the mice apparently contracted osteoarthritis.

Hedgehog proteins are apparently known to play a significant function in adapting chondrocytes, or cells that supposedly formulate the joints or growth plates. Chondrocytes in joints or cartilage are smooth cells that are believed to be present through life. Nevertheless, chondrocytes in growth plates supposedly grows, dies and makes bones.

The findings of this study apparently signify that in osteoarthritis, the cartilage joint chondrocytes supposedly perform more like growth plate chondrocytes. Patients and mice who suffered from osteoarthritis are also thought to have a high level of Hedgehog. They also discovered that if they raised the level of Hedgehog, mice apparently developed osteoarthritis. More significantly, it was found when the protein was obstructed either hereditarily or via a Hedgehog jamming drug; they could diminish the quantity of arthritis that developed.

The study was published in Nature Medicine.