Monday, July 09, 2012

Epigenetic Marker for Osteoarthritis Discovered

Epigenetics refers to chemical modifications surrounding DNA that result in alterations of how that DNA is expressed.  In English, changes in epigenetics can affect how much of a protein is produced by the underlying DNA.  In a newly published study, from Newcastle in the United Kingdom, researchers discovered less methylation (an epigenetic chemical modification) at a specific spot along the DNA led to increased production of the destructive enzyme MMP-13.  This all sounds very complicated and it is but this discovery may lead to a new class of drugs to treat osteoarthritis.  Interesting and potentially very exciting news for millions of arthritis patients.

Allan Mishra, MD

"Scientists discover an epigenetic cause of osteoarthritis"

"New research in the FASEB Journal suggests that DNA methylation is responsible for switching on and off a gene that produces the MMP13 enzyme that is known to be important in the destruction of cartilage

Bethesda, MD—In what could be a breakthrough in the practical application of epigenetic science, U.K. scientists used human tissue samples to discover that those with osteoarthritis have a signature epigenetic change (DNA methylation) responsible for switching on and off a gene that produces a destructive enzyme called MMP13. This enzyme is known to play a role in the destruction of joint cartilage, making MMP13 and the epigenetic changes that lead to its increased levels, prime targets for osteoarthritis drug development. In addition to offering a new epigenetic path toward a cure for osteoarthritis, this research also helps show how epigenetic changes play a role in diseases outside of cancer. This finding was recently published online in the FASEB Journal."

"We've already seen how epigenetics has advanced our approach to cancer. Now we're seeing it with other diseases and even exercise." said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal. "This study not only lays the groundwork for a new understanding of osteoarthritis, but also shows that the old 'either/or' nature v. nurture argument is outdated: epigenetics teaches us that nature (the daily wear and tear of joints) regulates nurture (the genes in our cartilage) to cause arthritis."

See Full Press Release

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Platelet Rich Plasma Eyedrops for Chemical Eye Injuries

In the study outlined below, platelet rich plasma eyedrops were used to augment standard treatment of chemical injuries to the eye.  The researchers found PRP to be "safe and effective, and it promotes rapid reepithelialization of ocular surface"

Novel and interesting application of PRP.

Topical Autologous Platelet-Rich Plasma Eyedrops for Acute Corneal Chemical Injury.


 2012 Jul 2. 


Evaluation of efficacy of autologous platelet-rich plasma eyedrops as an adjunct to standard medical treatment as compared with standard medical treatment with artificial tears in acute ocular chemical injury.


Twenty eyes with grade III to grade V chemical injury were randomly assigned to 2 groups. Group I (10 eyes) received autologous platelet-rich plasma eyedrops along with standard medical treatment, and group II (10 eyes) received standard medical treatment alone. Follow-up was on days 3, 7, 14, 21, 30, 60, and 90. Chi-square test for categorical variables and Mann-Whitney test for quantitative variables were applied for statistical analysis.


The mean time between exposure and presentation was 2.15 ± 0.93 days (group I, 2.2 ± 0.73 days; group II, 2.1 ± 0.98 days; P = 0.81). Complete epithelialization was achieved in all the eyes. The mean ± SD and median (range) time to complete epithelialization were 40 ± 31.57 days and 25.5 (7-90) days in group I and 47 ± 26.15 days and 30.0 (21-90) days in group II (P = 0.29). For grade III injuries, mean ± SD and median (range) time to complete epithelialization were 14 ± 7 days and 14 (7-21) days in group I and 28.5 ± 3.67 days and 28.5 (21-30) days in group II (P = 0.006) [Wilcoxon rank sum (Mann-Whitney) test]. At 3 months, corneal clarity showed significant improvement in grade I compared with grade II (P = 0.048). Similarly, the percentage improvement in best-corrected visual acuity was 63.64 ± 55.75 and 37.74 ± 9.66 for grades I and II, respectively (P = 0.082).


Topical autologous platelet-rich plasma therapy is safe and effective, and it promotes rapid reepithelialization of ocular surface and can be administered along with standard medical therapy.
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