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Researchers Find Molecular Cause of Osteoarthritis Pain Using Mouse Model

By January 5, 2013

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For a long time, researchers have focused on understanding the mechanism behind cartilage degeneration and joint destruction associated with osteoarthritis. Researchers from Rush University Medical Center and Northwestern University have identified a molecular mechanism that appears to be related specifically to the development of osteoarthritis pain.

According to a report in the December 11, 2012 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers used a mouse model to identify pain behaviors and molecular occurrences in the sensory neurons of the knee. Specifically, they identified pain-related behaviors and corresponding changes in the dorsal root ganglia (nerves that carry signals from sensory organs toward the brain). It was found that a chemokine (monocyte chemoattractant protein or MCP-1) and its receptor (chemokine receptor-2 or CCR2) are "central to the development of pain associated with knee osteoarthritis".

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