A tissue that is of particular importance to joint function is articular cartilage. This tissue provides resilience during movement and activities and produces biological lubricants that are needed to sustain the normal friction-less sliding movement of the joints.
Regrettably, articular cartilage becomes progressively less resilient and functional with age, following trauma or in association with chronic diseases such as inflammation. It also has very poor intrinsic repair capacity.
Our researchers have identified a molecular regulator called Erg that resides in the nucleus of articular chondrocytes and appears to be critical for long-term function of the cells through life.
Our researchers are experimenting with ways in which Erg properties could be exploited therapeutically to maintain or restore function in injured or aging joints. Such fortunate outcomes, if achieved, could have major medical and clinical benefits for millions of patients.
This project has been funded by both public and private funding agencies in Japan and United States, and is currently supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Primary investigators on this study: Masahiro Iwamoto, DDS, PhD, and Maurizio Pacifici, PhD
Reviewed by: Maurizio Pacifici, PhD
Date: September 2013