Osteoarthritis linked to 'body clocks'
Scientists from the University of Manchester are investigating a cartilage “body clock” that could explain why older Americans are more prone to osteoarthritis and joint pain and also why people with the condition often feel more pain and stiffness at certain times of the day . The researchers suggested that one way to deal with this is to follow a regular schedule for exercise and meals and also for the periodic warming and cooling of joints.
The research team discovered that the body clock in the cartilage cells of older mice was 40 percent weaker than in younger mice. This indicates that the clock deteriorates over time, which could explain why so many older people suffer from the condition. The researchers also found that the body clock was altered during early stages of the disease. However, despite these changes, the scientists were able to "reset" the clocks by applying heat to cartilage in 12-hour intervals designed to mimic natural changes in body temperature. These artificial rhythms lasted for five to seven days, even after the heat treatments were stopped.
By understanding the means by which cartilage is affected by age, scientists hope to manipulate a body’s circadian rhythms, hopefully prolonging the life of joints.