White Blood Cell Response Worsens Joint Injuries
Drugs that inhibit these cells might aid healing, researchers say
FRIDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- A kind of white blood cell known for promoting tissue regeneration and healing actually exacerbates and extends tissue damage and cartilage cell death after impact injury, new research reveals.
Tissue damage typically prompts an influx of these white blood cells, called leukocytes.
But a U.S. study involving the hind knee joints of dogs found that the leukocytes killed off chondrocytes -- cells critical to tissue renewal -- in cartilage as far as 10 millimeters or more away from the site of the impact injury. The researchers concluded that noxious nitric oxide (NO) produced by the leukocytes was responsible for the destruction of the chondrocytes.
They also found that they could prevent the death of chondrocytes by using desferoxamine, a chemical that blocks production of NO.
The study was conducted by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston.
"Our findings have interesting clinical implications," study lead author Dr. D. M. Green said in a prepared statement. "Data in this study suggest that therapies to reduce acute influx of leukocytes into damaged cartilage should be considered in the future when treating osteochondral injuries."
The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine has information about articular cartilage injury.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: John Wiley & Sons, news release, April 28, 2006
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