Women in the age of 40 to 50 years are more prone to osteoarthritis. Researchers thing that sex hormones may play a vital role in the disease because of the inflammation caused in the condition as it worsens.
A new study has examined the role played by estradiol, the main sex hormone estrogen in premenopausal and early perimenopausal women and how it works in the development of osteoarthritis. The findings appear in the August 2006 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritis).
Led by MaryFran R. Sowers of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI, the study included 842 premenopausal or perimenopausal women from the Southeast Michigan Arthritis Cohort. The women had annual X-rays of both knees along with analysis of blood levels of estradiol and urine levels of 2-hydroxyestrone and 16á-hydroxyestrone, two estrogen metabolites. Patients were also interviewed regarding pain, health, and lifestyle and were followed for three years. The results showed that the women who developed knee OA during the study period had greater odds of having estradiol concentrations and urinary 2-hydroxyestrone levels in the lowest third of the study population, and a higher ratio of 2-hydroxyestrone to 16á-hydroxyestrone, even after adjusting for other risk factors.
Previous studies have shown that altered patterns of estrogen metabolism are present in rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, suggesting an association with symptoms, such as pain and inflammation, as opposed to disease onset and progression due to structural changes. The authors note that although the 2-hydroxyestrone levels in those with knee OA were significantly lower than in those without the disease, "more detailed investigation is required to establish if primary pathways are associated with symptoms, duration of symptoms, symptom severity, or with response in cartilage and bone."
Given the strong associations of lower estradiol and 2-hydroxyestrone levels with more knee OA, the authors conclude: "If findings are confirmed, then this helps motivate new areas of investigation for intervention. If the mechanistic explanation of 2-hydroxyestrone levels lies, at least in part, in arachidonic acid metabolism associated with pain and inflammation rather than receptor binding, then considering alternative lifestyle and therapeutic pathways to influence these metabolites becomes increasingly viable."
Contact: Amy Molnar firstname.lastname@example.org John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Source: Eurekalert