Injections of a natural “energy” molecule prompted regrowth of almost half of the cartilage lost with aging in knees, a new study in rodents shows.
The study results revolve around the long-established idea that machines within animal and human cells turn the sugars, fats, and proteins we eat into energy used by the body’s millions of cells. The molecule most used to store that energy is called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. Along with this central role in metabolism, adenosine also helps signal other cells and serves as a building block of genetic material, and so is central to the growth of human tissue.
Previous research had shown that maintaining supplies of adenosine, known to nourish the chondrocyte cells that make cartilage, also prevented osteoarthritis in similar animal models of the disease.
Published online in the journal Scientific Reports on August 10, the study rodents received 8 weekly injections of adenosine, which prompted regrowth rates of cartilage tissue between 50 percent and 35 percent as measured by standard laboratory scores.
Release date: 10 August 2020