Untangling the interplay between inflammation, oestrogen and immunity in osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis, is a chronic degenerative joint disease that affects millions of people. It is characterised by the deterioration of articular cartilage, which cushions the end of the bones in a joint, causing the bones to rub together and wear down over time. Inflammation and the immune system play a role in OA along with hormonal alterations, which put women at an increased risk for the disease. CD4+ T cells of the immune system are linked to cartilage degradation in OA and they express oestrogen and adenosine receptors. There are two types of adenosine receptors, pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory, and oestrogen can modulate the expression of both. The EU-funded C.A.R.E. OA project is investigating the combined effect of oestrogen treatment and blocking of pro-inflammatory adenosine receptors as a potential treatment for OA.