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Pathogenesis of osteoarthritis 

Pathogenesis of osteoarthritis
Pathogenesis of osteoarthritis
Oxford Textbook of Rheumatology (4 ed.)

Tonia L. Vincent

and Linda Troeberg

Previous versions of this chapter are available. To view earlier versions of this chapter view the full site here.

Understanding pathogenic mechanism in disease is critical for development of targeted therapeutic strategies. Although there are, at this time, only a handful of experimental approaches for treating osteoarthritis (OA), until 10 years ago this disease was almost universally considered an unmodifiable condition. Emerging data during this time, largely fuelled by studies in rodent models, has completely changed the paradigm of disease pathogenesis and has for the first time, generated novel, realistic targets for this highly prevalent and disabling condition. These targets include the aggrecanases, members of the ADAMTS family, and collagenases, which together are critical for the early breakdown of the extracellular matrix of cartilage. Some recent success has also been demonstrated by targeting bone in disease. Development of pain in OA is complex and likely arises from different tissues at different stages of disease. In the following section we describe the pathological features of OA, and discuss the evolution of theories of OA pathogenesis and factors that have limited mechanistic clarity in this disease. We summarize the molecular pathways that are now known to be active in disease, and consider how these identified molecular pathways could be linked to known epidemiological risk factors. We finish by discussing possible future therapeutic strategies that will emerge from these discoveries and the current limitations in implementing new therapies in OA.

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