Objective: Joint bleeds have a direct adverse effect on joint cartilage, leading to joint deterioration, and ultimately to disability. Because degenerated cartilage has a limited repair capacity, it was hypothesized that degenerated cartilage is more susceptible to blood-induced cartilage damage than healthy cartilage is.
Methods: Healthy, degenerated (pre-clinical osteoarthritic) and osteoarthritic (clinically defined) human cartilage was exposed to 10% v/v whole blood for a period of two days, followed by a recovery period of 12 days in the absence of blood. The effect of blood exposure on cartilage was determined by measuring proteoglycan synthesis rate, - release, and - content, as well as protease (MMP)-activity.
Results: In general, blood-exposure led to a decrease in proteoglycan synthesis rate, an increase in the release of proteoglycans and in MMP-activity, and therefore ultimately in a decrease of the proteoglycan content of the tissue. Impaired cartilage was as least as susceptible to this blood-induced damage as healthy cartilage was.
Conclusion: These results demonstrate that degenerated cartilage is not explicitly more susceptible to blood-induced damage than healthy cartilage is. Even when taking into account that these are just in vitro findings, it remains of great importance, also in already affected joints, to prevent joints bleeds and when joint bleeds do occur, to treat them adequately.
- cartilage damage
- joint haemorrhage
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