Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ., 21 July 2004
Vol. 2004, Issue 29, p. pe31
[DOI: 10.1126/sageke.2004.29.pe31]


Aging Cartilage and Osteoarthritis--What's the Link?

Richard F. Loeser Jr.

The author is in the Departments of Medicine and Biochemistry, Section of Rheumatology at Rush Medical College, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612, USA. E-mail: rloeser{at}

Key Words: cartilage • osteoarthritis • chondrocyte • extracellular matrix • catabolic pathways • oxidative stress

Abstract: Cartilage aging can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis (OA), the most common cause of chronic pain and disability in older adults. Articular cartilage is a unique tissue from the perspective of aging in that the cells (chondrocytes) and the majority of the extracellular matrix proteins experience little turnover, resulting in a tissue that must withstand years of use and can also accumulate years of aging-associated changes. Accumulation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) occurs in cartilage, and the potential role of AGEs in the development of OA is being investigated. An age-associated reduction in growth factor signaling and an increase in oxidative stress may also play an important role in the age-OA connection. Further elucidation of mechanisms that affect chondrocyte function with aging should lead to novel interventions designed to slow the aging process in cartilage with the goal of preventing age-associated OA.

Citation: R. F. Loeser, Aging Cartilage and Osteoarthritis--What's the Link? Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ. 2004 (29), pe31 (2004).

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Science of Aging Knowledge Environment. ISSN 1539-6150