"We found significant differences in average levels of serum HA between individuals with osteoarthritis of the knee and those without knee or hip osteoarthritis", said Dr. Joanne M. Jordan. "Serum HA levels not only were associated with the presence of osteoarthritis but also showed a trend of increasing values as severity of the disease increased.”

"Our study is unique in that it consisted of a large, ethically diverse, population-based sample of African Americans and Caucasians and incorporates five definitions of osteoarthritis", Jordan said. "This was the first study of hyaluronan and osteoarthritis to include African Americans and to consider how other health problems commonly occurring with osteoarthritis might confound the relationship between HA and osteoarthritis."

The researchers studied 753 subjects, including 455 with osteoarthritis in their knees. Volunteers ranged in age from about 51 to 72.

"Average serum HA levels correlated with age”, Jordan said. Whites and men showed higher levels than blacks and women, which could reflect genetic or physiologic factors. Such sex and racial differences would need to be taken into account when determining the usefulness of HA and other potential biomarker testing.

Levels of the important protein COMP were higher in cartilage, ligaments, tendons and joint lubricating fluid of whites with osteoarthritis than in whites without the painful, degenerative illness.

The same thing is true in blacks. They also found average levels of the protein to be higher in blacks than in whites and higher among white men than among white women.

MEDICA.de; Source: University of North Carolina