Recent developments in emerging therapeutic targets of osteoarthritis

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Recent developments in emerging therapeutic targets of osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) can be described as the degradation and loss of the articular cartilage accompanied bone remodeling, osteophyte formation and inflammation of the synovial membrane. This is clinically reflected by gradual development of fluctuating joint pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of motion. Some pharmacological interventions have focused on treating the pain, primarily using the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), analgesics and more recently specific cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors.

Over the last decades, many fascinating advances have been introduced in the treatment of OA. A clear understanding of the pathophysiology of this disease can facilitate the development of new approaches for treatments aimed at retarding disease progress. New classes of molecules that inhibit the one or more OA catabolic processes are under evaluation for their potential to after the degenerative process.

Despite the significant population suffering from OA and socioeconomic burden, there were no effective disease-modifying treatment options. This is in part because of incomplete understanding of mechanism of OA.

A review was conducted to summarize the recent developments in the therapeutic targets from different models of OA that provided the novel insight into the OA pathology and possess the potential for progression into the pre-clinical studies. Several pathways and processes identified include chondrocyte autophagy, growth factor signaling, inflammation and nociceptive signaling. Major strategies which possessed therapeutic potential at the cellular level included the inhibiting autophagy suppression and decreasing ROS production. Cartilage anabolism and prevention of cartilage degradation has been shown to result from growth factor signaling modulation such as transforming growth factor (TGF) beta and TGF alpha and fibroblast growth factors (FGF). However, the results were context-dependent and required further investigation. Pain assessment studies in placental surgical models had also demonstrated the potential in employing the anti-NGF strategies for minimizing OA pain.

Outcomes from studies of potential therapeutic targets in OA using models were helpful to elucidate the pathology of OA and motivated the therapeutic developments. However, further studies should also continue to elucidate the pathological mechanisms and therapeutic targets in various joint tissues to improve the overall joint health.


Europe PMC.

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Original title of article:

Recent developments in emerging therapeutic targets of osteoarthritis.


Sun MM, Beier F, Pest MA

Europe PMC.
Exploratory, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Analgesics, Cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors, Osteoarthritis (OA), Pain, Joints
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