High cholesterol levels may not only harm our cardiovascular system, but also lead to the development of osteoarthritis, researchers including one of Indian origin have warned. The new research using animal models suggests that high cholesterol levels trigger mitochondrial oxidative stress on cartilage cells, causing them to die, and ultimately leading to osteoarthritis, a type of joint disease.
Researchers tested the potential therapeutic role of mitochondria targeting antioxidants in high-cholesterol-induced osteoarthritis and provided proof-of-concept for the use of mitochondrial targeting antioxidants to treat osteoarthritis.
“Our team has already begun working alongside dietitians to try to educate the public about healthy eating and how to keep cholesterol levels at a manageable level that will not damage joints,” said Indira Prasadam, a researcher at Queensland University of Technology in Australia.
Prasadam and colleagues used two different animal models to mimic human hypercholesterolemia. The first was a mouse model that had an altered gene called ApoE that made the animals hypercholesteremic. The other was a rat model, and the animals were fed a high-cholesterol diet, causing diet-induced hypercholesterolemia.
Both models were fed a high-cholesterol diet or control normal diet, after which they underwent a surgery that mimics knee injuries in people and was designed to bring on osteoarthritis. Both the mice and the rats that were subjected to surgery and fed with high-cholesterol diets showed more severe osteoarthritis development than seen in the normal diet group.
However, when both the mice and the rats are were exposed to the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin and mitochondrion-targeted antioxidants, the development of osteoarthritis was markedly decreased in relation to the untreated groups. The research appears in the FASEB Journal.