Why is osteoarthritis more common among women? Study sheds light

Medical News Today by Honor Whiteman – Osteoarthritis is more common in women than men in older age, but researchers have struggled to pinpoint precisely why this is. A new study may have shed light on the issue, after identifying differences in the synovial fluid of men and women with the disease.

Synovial fluid is the fluid that surrounds the joints. It helps to protect cartilage – which is the tissue that covers the ends of the bones – against damaged caused by friction during movement.

Synovial fluid is known to contain information that can be used to determine the health of a joint. For the new study, researchers set out to investigate whether there were differences in this information between men and women with osteoarthritis (OA).

Study co-author Dr. Monte Hunter, chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, and colleagues recently published their findings in the journal Scientific Reports.

For the study, the team analyzed samples of synovial fluid taken from the knees of men and women both with and without OA.

The researchers focused on the exosomes of synovial fluid, which are vesicles within the fluid that carry small molecules called microRNAs (miRNAs). These regulate gene expression.

Human articular chondrocytes cells accumulate synovial fluid derived EVs


Human articular chondrocytes cells were treated with mock (negative control) and synovial fluid derived EVs labeled with Exo-Red dye. Chondrocytes cells endocytose Exo-Red-labeled exosomes.

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Kolhe R, Hunter M, Liu S, Jadeja RN, Pundkar C, Mondal AK, Mendhe B, Drewry M, Rojiani MV, Liu Y, Isales CM, Guldberg RE, Hamrick MW, Fulzele S. (2017) Gender-specific differential expression of exosomal miRNA in synovial fluid of patients with osteoarthritis. Sci Rep 7(1):2029. [article]

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