Specific or related causes in the pathogenesis of osetoarthritis remain unclear despite a great deal of investigation. This justifies a new venue of research into other factors involved in degenerative joint disease . The study of joint lubrication, biotribology, has been fraught with conflicting theories, failure to adequately use molecular techniques, standardize merchanical assays and assign clinical importance to lubrication by synovial fluid. This investigation addresses the molecular of synovial lubrication of animal joints. A considerable literature has demonstrated that these rubbing and pressurized surfaces (i.e., bearings) have low frictional properties (1-4). These properties arise in part from the slippery nature of articular cartilage. Most reports actually deal with the rheology of synovial fluid and may incorrectly assume that its viscosity is the basis for joint lubrication (5-10). Direct measurements documents that synovial fluid lowers the coefficient of friction between cartilage bearings and certain artificial surfaces. A lubricating glycoprotein termed """"""""lubricin"""""""" from synovial fluid is responsible for this but no one has proposed a mechanism of how it does so or how to study it in vitro. An arthrotripsometer composed of latex oscillating against glass employed by the PI reproduced critical findings of previous studies using cartilage bearings. It isolated boundary mode lubrication measuring devices previously employed by others. Synovial fluid, saliva, and detergents are the only substances which display this activity (11). The observation that lubricin lubricated the latex: glass bearing is a recent discovery by the PI. This provides an experimental opportunity to implicate failed lubrication in the occurrence of degenerative joint disease in a large number of patients and to causally link this measure to lubricin. A low coefficient of friction (mu) is no necessarily a measure of wear protection but synovial fluid does in fact confer this property to cartilage (12). It is unknown if the absence or paucity of lubricin is significant to the initial or continued pathogenesis of either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. This principal goal of this investigation is to develop new immunological probes and with these identify the concentration of lubricin in synovial fluid extracted from healthy and arthritic human joints.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Clinical Investigator Award (CIA) (K08)
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National Institute on Aging Initial Review Group (NIA)
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Premen, Andre J
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Rhode Island Hospital (Providence, RI)
United States
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