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Now, a study from scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) explains why the risk of osteoarthritis increases as we age and offers a potential avenue for developing new therapies to maintain healthy joints.
The study's findings suggest that FOXO proteins are responsible for the maintenance of healthy cells in the cartilage of our joints.
FoxO - Transcription - Factors - Expression - Genes
"We discovered that FoxO transcription factors control the expression of genes that are essential for maintaining joint health," says Martin Lotz, MD, a TSRI professor and senior author of the study, published today in the journal Science Translational Medicine. "Drugs that boost the expression and activity of FoxO could be a strategy for preventing and treating osteoarthritis."
Previous research from Lotz' lab showed that as joints age, levels of FoxO proteins in cartilage decrease. Lotz and his colleagues had also found that people with osteoarthritis have a lower expression of the genes needed for a process called autophagy. Autophagy ("auto" meaning "self" and "phagy" meaning "to eat") is a cell's way of removing and recycling its own damaged structures to stay healthy.
Study - Researchers - Mouse - Models - FoxO
For the new study, researchers used mouse models with FoxO deficiency in cartilage to see how the FoxO proteins affect maintenance of cartilage throughout adulthood.
The researchers noticed a striking difference in the mice with "knockout" FoxO deficiency. Their cartilage degenerated at much younger...
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