A new study published in the journal Cell Press suggests that the molecular pathway responding to zinc levels in cartilage cells could be responsible for tissue damage caused by osteoarthritis.
The study was conducted by researchers at South Korea's Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology who found that a protein called ZIP8, which transports zinc into the cartilage cells, triggers cascading molecular events which leads to destruction of cartilage tissue.
The researchers added that targeting ways to lower the zinc levels could help in developing new treatments for osteoarthritis.
"In our study, we revealed the entire series of molecular events in the osteoarthritis zinc pathway, from zinc influx into cells to cartilage destruction. ur findings suggest that local depletion of zinc or pharmacological inhibition of ZIP8 function or MTF1 activity in cartilage tissue would be effective therapeutic approaches for the treatment of osteoarthritis. We are hopeful that this research will lead to the discovery and rapid development of novel drugs to suppress the progression of this debilitating disease", lead researcher Jang-Soo Chun said.