An Antioxidant Might Lead to New Therapies For Bone Arthritis
Published:21 Sep.2018    Source:NewScientist

 An antioxidant food supplement widely used to treat conditions including paracetamol poisoning has shown promise in helping mice with osteoarthritis, the most common joint disorder in the world. The only existing treatments are painkillers and drugs that reduce inflammation, but nothing halts or reverses the condition.


When researchers added N-acetyl cysteine, or NAC, to the drinking water they gave to mice with osteoarthritis, it reduced the level of joint damage to that seen in healthy, control mice. The main effect of the NAC was to stifle damage to cartilage tissue in joints, which is caused by a natural process in cells called oxidative stress.


Rik Lories of the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, and his colleagues screened gene activity in cartilage samples from people and mice with osteoarthritis. They discovered depleted levels of a protein called ANP32A. Further gene-profiling experiments in diseased and healthy joint cartilage cells revealed that ANP32A drives production of a natural enzyme which halts oxidative stress.