Articular cartilage

Damage and degradation of articular cartilage, occurring in osteoarthritis, trauma and other joint conditions; leads to severe pain and reduced mobility. Current treatment strategies are mainly focused on controlling inflammation in soft tissue; while options for restoration of the cartilage.
Scientists have reported an advanced imaging technique that allows the condition of joint cartilage to be examined—right down to the molecular level. The technique has the potential for diagnostics and treatment-planning of cartilage disease and impairment, including for osteoarthritis. “Damage and degradation of cartilage around joints lead to severe pain and loss of mobility.
“They need a tool to help us to determine objectively; the degree of problem that the joint cartilage is exhibiting. They then need a way to able to monitor the effectiveness of any cartilage regeneration therapies that are able to undertake. “Ideally we need to able to do this monitoring at a molecular level and in a minimally invasive way.” A cutting-edge technique termed hyperspectral imaging was using by Dr. Mahbub to achieve this.

The electromagnetic light-waves

This combined the power of an advanced optical microscope together with high powered data analysis; to measure and image the electromagnetic light-waves being given off by the cartilage tissue and cartilage cells known as chondrocytes. “In this study, they applied our advanced hyperspectral microscopy to osteoarthritic human cartilage to investigate its capacity to generate molecular data and to help us characterize the cartilage disease-state; as well as to examine potential treatment effects.

“Using this approach,  They able to identify types and amounts of collagen (collagen I and collagen II); in the cartilage tissue as well as to test for the specific co-enzymes FAD and NADH in the chondrocytes.” In a breakthrough for Dr. Mahbub, the hyperspectral-based study was also capable of detecting effects related to cartilage treatments (in this case the use of secretions from stem cells).

The composition of the cartilage

This was by hyperspectral imagery indicating changes in the composition of the cartilage; ratios of collagen I to collagen II when comparing pre and post cartilage treatment activity.” They believe that levels of collagen I, collagen II and proteins may sensitive to improvements in cartilage health and could use to monitor patient progression and to discern between effects of different osteoarthritis therapies.
It is that, in the future, this new imaging technique will available to patients in a clinical; setting where it would deploy endoscopically through small incisions in targeted areas of the body. Next steps for Dr. Mahbub and the research team are to further investigate the molecular underpinnings of the progression; of cartilage deterioration as well as regeneration.