Research ArticleOsteoarthritis

Targeting mitochondrial responses to intra-articular fracture to prevent posttraumatic osteoarthritis

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Science Translational Medicine  07 Feb 2018:
Vol. 10, Issue 427, eaan5372
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aan5372

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Osteoarthritis—A mitochondrial malady

Articular cartilage—the smooth, avascular tissue that covers the bones in joints—can be damaged by traumatic injury, which can lead to osteoarthritis. In response to injury, chondrocytes ramp up mitochondrial activity, producing reactive oxygen species that can cause further tissue damage and cell death. Coleman and colleagues treated intra-articular fractures in a porcine model with an antioxidant or an inhibitor of the mitochondrial electron transport chain. Regulating mitochondrial metabolism prevented osteoarthritis. This work suggests that the mighty mitochondrion is a therapeutic target for posttraumatic osteoarthritis.