Osteoarthritis - Cartilage
Enzyme Degradation
Osteoarthritis, a consequence of aging, is a chronic disease of the joints leading to spurring
of bone, pain and decreased mobility and function. It is also a cartilage damage results from
degradation of macromolecules in cartilage tissue such as aggrecan and type II collagen. The
main symptoms are pain and morning stiffness, which usually worsens with exercise [3].

According to studies, the destruction appears to be a result of uncontrolled proteolytic
extracellular matrix destruction [1]. The major components of the cartilage extracellular matrix
are aggrecan and type II collagen. They both are important for the cartilage health. Aggrecan
hydrates the collagen network and provides the cartilage tissue with its characteristic
pressibility and elasticity. It plays protective role in preventing degradation of collagen fibrils.
Aggrecan and type II collagen molecules cooperatively maintain the cartilage integrity and
function [5].

Scientists have found that several metalloproteases such as ADAMTS5 (aggrecanase-2),
ADAMTS4, MMP-13 and MT4-MMP are involved in cartilage macromolecule degradation
[1,2,4,5]. Inhibition of their generic expressions or their actions may prevent cartilage
degradation and improve osteoarthritis conditions.


[1] Glasson SS et al, Deletion of active ADAMTS5 prevents cartilage degradation in a murine model of osteoarthritis. Nature. 2005 Mar
[2] Australian Scientists Find Arthritis-Causing Enzyme, Reuters, Mar 31, 2005.
[3] http://www.zhion.com/osteoarthritis_suppl, April 1, 2005
[4] Patwari P et al, Analysis of ADAMTS4 and MT4-MMP indicates that both are involved in aggrecanolysis in interleukin-1-treated
bovine cartilage. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2005 Apr;13(4):269-77.
[5] Ishiguro N and Kojima, T, Role of aggrecanase and MMP in cartilage degradation, Clin Calcium. 2004 Jul;14(7):38-
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