Research ArticleOsteoarthritis

Proteoglycan 4 Expression Protects Against the Development of Osteoarthritis

Science Translational Medicine  13 Mar 2013:
Vol. 5, Issue 176, pp. 176ra34
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3005409

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Rubbing Arthritis the Wrong Way

There are two main forms of joint inflammation (arthritis). Patients with rheumatoid arthritis develop joint inflammation because of an autoimmune reaction, whereas wear and tear is thought to contribute to the development of osteoarthritis. Indeed, most people have at least some symptoms of osteoarthritis by the age of 70. Treatment is mostly limited to reducing symptoms. Now, Ruan et al. provide a new mechanism for a potential new therapy for osteoarthritis.

Proteoglycan 4 (lubrican, PRG4) has been previously thought to protect against osteoarthritis by acting as a lubricant between bones in a joint. Here, the authors show that not only does PRG4 protect against the development of osteoarthritis in both aging and trauma mouse models, but that its effect may extend beyond that of a mere lubricant. Indeed, PRG4 has a direct chondroprotective effect in these models, suggesting that it may form the basis for a new disease-altering therapy for osteoarthritis.