Osteoarthritis is one of the types of arthritis that affects the joints. Traditionally it is known to be wear & tear of the joint however, over the years different clinical evidences have come forth that has changed the definition of osteoarthritis.

OA primarily affects cartilage:

The process of osteoarthritis affects the articular cartilage that covers the articular surface of the bone. The role of articular cartilage in the body is to maintain a healthy equilibrium of the chemical reaction that takes place. As OA begins to develop the reactions are disrupted leading to abnormal changes in the collagen of the cartilage. The release of enzymes from the inflamed cells surrounding the tissues breakdown collagen, destroying cartilage. The underlying bone undergoes shape changes and leads to formation of osteophytes & bone cysts. The joint space diminishes over the time.

Molecules responsible for degrading cartilage:

The primary enzymes responsible for the degradation of cartilage are the matrix metalloproteinase. These enzymes are secreted by both synovial fluid & condrocytes.

What can be modified & can’t be modified:

The factors that lead to developing OA at later stages in life are obesity, lack of movement and sedentary lifestyle. All of these are modifiable factors that can help in prevention of most painful depressing disease OA. What triggers the diseases and reasons that come with it sometimes can’t be explained, such as age, sports injury, repetitive stress on one joint, bone deformities, comorbid diseases, and history of arthritic diseases. These are non-modifiable.

Matrix metalloproteinase appear to be the culprit for cartilage destruction in OA. Factors responsible to inhibit matrix metalloproteinase apparently insufficient to counteract the degenerative forces resulting in progressive cartilage degradation and finally causes osteoarthritis.