Biomarkers for osteoarthritis: investigation, identification, and prognosis
Guangju Zhai,1,2 Erfan Aref Eshghi1
1Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John's, NL, Canada; 2Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, King's College London, London, UK
Abstract: Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and results in substantial morbidity and disability in the elderly, imposing a great economic burden on society. While there are drugs available on the market that mitigate pain and improve function, there are no disease-modifying osteoarthritis drugs, partly because there is no reliable method that can be used to identify early OA changes. There is a pressing need to develop reliable biomarkers that can inform on the process of joint destruction in OA. Such biomarkers could aid in drug development by identifying fast progressors and detecting early response to therapy, thus reducing patient numbers and time required for clinical trials. Over the last several years, dramatic advances in our understanding of the biochemistry of cartilage have led to a cascade of studies testing proteins as biomarkers of OA. Investigation of single-nucleotide polymorphisms as genetic biomarkers and the application of technologies such as metabolomics to OA are generating potentially additional biomarkers that could help detect early OA changes. This review summarizes the data on the investigation of biochemical and genetic markers in OA and highlights the new biomarkers that are recently reported and their application and limitation in the management of OA. However, despite the dramatic growth of knowledge concerning the discovery of a number of useful biomarkers, the real breakthrough in this area is still not achieved.
Keywords: osteoarthritis, biochemical markers, metabolomics, genetics, epigenetics
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