What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA), also referred to as degenerative joint disease, is a disease process characterised by pain and lameness associated with pathological changes in the tissue of synovial joints, including the loss of articular cartilage.
The ideal treatment for OA would not only address the clinical signs associated with pain (e.g. lameness), but also modify the disease process by reversing or repairing the pathological process. OA (either primary or secondary) occurs when articular cartilage is degraded at a greater rate than at which healthy cartilage is produced by the chondrocytes. The equilibrium between production and degradation is lost.
One of the normal functions of chondrocytes (and to a lesser degree synoviocytes) is to produce enzymes that naturally degrade aged cartilage. When there is an underlying ailment stimulus such as trauma (e.g. direct, overuse, conformation, inappropriate biomedical forces) the degradation phase is increased and predominates over the normal production the the extracellular matrix by chondrocytes.
Figure 1 shows a basic representation of the process involved. There are three key processes – cartilage destruction, inflammation and pain, which are triggered by the release of Interleukin 1 (IL-1) from chondrocytes (and synoviocytes) in response to the insult. IL-1 causes increased production of PGE2, which is an integral part of the inflammatory cascade. A feedback mechanism results in increased production of IL-1, which in turn amplifies the inflammatory and degradation process.
The Impact of EPIITALIS
EPIITALIS is an exciting bioactive for improving the pathophysiology of OA as it has the unique ability to restore cartilage through regeneration, prevention of joint degradation, protecting the remaining healthy cartilage and relieving inflammation and pain.
In particular, EPIITALIS:
- Increases chondrocyte viability, in the presence of inflammatory mediators such as IL-1, which reduces the rate of degradation of the cartilage.
- Stimulates chondrocyte cells to divide in the presence of inflammation and/or trauma, which increases the health and longevity of the cartilage.
- Reduces PGE2 concentration, which is essential for decreasing inflammation.