Electric knee implants could help treat pain of osteoarthritis

4 months ago 133

A instrumentality that delivers electrical existent to the knees could assistance combat osteoarthritis, a achy information caused by worn cartilage, aft palmy tests successful rabbits

Health 12 January 2022

By Clare Wilson

Knee osteoarthritis

Coloured X-ray of the knees of an 87-year aged antheral with terrible osteoarthritis

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Knee implants that make a tiny electrical existent whitethorn beryllium capable to stimulate cartilage regrowth arsenic a attraction for arthritis.

Rabbits fixed the implants, which make energy from mechanical forces arsenic the animals determination around, experienced much healing aft cartilage harm than those fixed a placebo device.

Osteoarthritis is simply a communal origin of genu symptom arsenic radical get older. It involves the deterioration and teardrop of cartilage, a rubbery furniture capping the ends of bones that usually stops them rubbing together.

Many experimental treatments are successful development, specified arsenic new drugs and implants of stem cells, immature cells that person the quality to make into immoderate compartment type. Some probe suggests that a mild electrical existent tin promote cartilage cells successful the genu to multiply and repair damage.

To debar having to enactment batteries wrong the body, Thanh Nguyen astatine the University of Connecticut successful Storrs and his colleagues person developed a biodegradable membrane, astir fractional a millimetre thick, which generates energy erstwhile it is compressed and stretched. The worldly has a scaffold-like operation to promote cells to migrate into it.

Nguyen’s radical tested the existent thought by creating holes successful the genu cartilage of rabbits and patching them up with the material. After a period of rest, the researchers encouraged the rabbits to hop astir for 20 minutes a time by putting them connected dilatory moving treadmills, to workout their legs and make the electrical current.

Two months later, the squad took insubstantial samples from the joints and scored them connected however intact and steadfast they appeared nether the microscope. The squad recovered that cartilage cells had moved into the patches and the joints appeared much intact. “Stem cells from bony marrow are recruited to the scaffold,” says Nguyen.

Cartilage from these rabbits scored 15 retired of 18 connected average, portion a radical of rabbits fixed patches of a akin worldly that didn’t make energy scored astir 5.

If utilized successful people, the worldly utilized to marque the implant would dissolve aft astir 2 months – though it could beryllium tweaked to marque it past longer, says Nguyen.

Journal reference: Science Translational Medicine, DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abi7282

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