How stem cells help fix a broken “healing cycle”
Medical university researchers in Spain examined the role of systemic inflammation in older adults with osteoarthritis and the factors associated with osteoarthritic progression, pain and functional impairment. Simply, you can call this a broken “healing cycle,” in patients.
Before reading on, if you have questions about your joint pain, get help and information from our Caring Medical staff
What causes a broken healing cycle?
- Excessive mechanical loading of the joint (wear and tear on an unstable hip, knee or ankle for example) may lead to systemic inflammation by way of stress-induced inability of healing factors to multiply and fix the problems of the joint. (Chronic inflammation being caused by more damage being done than can be healed – a broken “healing cycle”).
- Therefore, where the cycle is broken, natural anti-inflammatory factors are not being produced, there is an increased production of pro-inflammatory mediators (chronic inflammation).
- Premature deterioration would result in a lower ability of chondrocytes (cartilage building cells) to counteract the cartilage deterioration and prevent the progression of osteoarthritis.
The researchers then explained that a wide range of evidence indicates that intra-articular injection of adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells, alone or associated to growth factors and/or scaffolds, can improve cartilage quality in osteoarthritis and therefore fix the healing cycle. However, cartilage reapir may nonly be one factor. Cell signaling or the paracrine effect may have therapeutic potential in the down-regulation of inflammatory and catabolic mediators and exert protective effects by countering inflammatory stress.1 Simply, the stem cells are turning off the systemic inflammation (inflammatory stress) that has not been effective, it is shutting down the disease environment so a new healing environment can be created.
- please see The Paracrine Effect and Inflammation in our article on Stem cell therapy for bone repair in osteoarthritis.
In Caring Medical research we published in 2013 in the medical journal Clinical medicine insights. Arthritis and musculoskeletal disorders, we were able to show that Prolotherapy, Platelet rich Plasma Therapy, and in this instance bone marrow aspirate (stem cells and healing factors) supported chondrogenesis (Cartilage growth and repair) by enhancing the availability of pro-chondrogenic microenvironmental factors. In essence an environmental change from diseased to healing within the osteoarthritic joint.
This was achieved in our study by a combination of the above treatments.
While treatments based on either stem cells or the other mentioned treatments show effectiveness for osteoarthritis as a stand alone or single therapy, treatments that combine these modalities may be especially promising.
I cover the subject of combined treatments in these articles Stem Cell Therapy and Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy when to use both,
If you have questions about your joint pain, get help and information from our Caring Medical staff
1 Platas J, Guillén MI, del Caz MDP, et al. Paracrine effects of human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells in inflammatory stress-induced senescence features of osteoarthritic chondrocytes. Aging (Albany NY). 2016;8(8):1703-1717. [Pubmed]