About this Research Topic
For many years osteoarthritis (OA) was thought of as primarily a non-inflammatory disease of articular cartilage in elderly individuals. While articular cartilage remains the focus, because of its limited capacity to repair, it is far from the only tissue involved. All tissues that make up a synovial joint have been shown to be altered during development and progression of OA. As such, cartilage, synovium, subchondral bone, and the crosstalk between these tissues are central components of OA development. Additionally, researchers have discovered that low-grade inflammation and metabolic alterations happen as individuals age and that joints undergo wear and tear over time. The interplay among diverse cells, their environment, as well as mechanical and molecular factors are all part of what makes this disease process so complicated. There is not one common origin for the initiation of disease making it complex to define, diagnose, and manage. In fact, even when the disease origin is similar, progression is usually not predictable because of individual variation in metabolic status, fitness level, lifestyle choices and pain tolerance. There is currently no cure for OA, making effective management extremely challenging. This is especially important in younger individuals that have to live with joint pain and a limited range of motion for most of their lifetime. Therefore, it is paramount that the OA research community continues to strive toward better diagnostics so that the disease can be managed as early as possible to minimize structural and symptomatic progression. The ultimate goal is to provide appropriate and effective management such that the joint is not only protected, but that it also has the capability to heal to the best of its ability.
OA is a disease that is not specific to one species; veterinary and human patients alike are afflicted by this naturally-occurring disease. This has helped us advance the knowledge base about the disease process because important comparisons could be made between species. This has led to a multitude of spontaneous and induced animal models of disease that have allowed both physicians and veterinarians to understand the underlying mechanisms and develop strategies that can help decrease the morbidity of the disease for their patients. Continuing technological advances on the clinic floor and in the laboratory have made it possible to examine this disease in ways that were difficult to do just a few decades ago. This includes, but is not limited to, learning more about the basic biology of the tissues and how they can be stimulated to repair or be replaced, how the disease can be diagnosed earlier using biological or imaging biomarkers, as well as identifying and testing various therapeutic targets.
In this Research Topic, we encourage all OA researchers to submit original research, reviews, and opinions that relate to the advancement in understanding, diagnosing, and treating OA. The ideal submission would apply to all species, or at least demonstrate advances in veterinary species and show how those advances progress translational research that will benefit all species afflicted with OA.
Keywords: osteoarthritis, biomarkers, cartilage, collagen, proteoglycans, inflammation, ligament, subchondral bone, MRI
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