Public Release:  'Lubricin' molecule discovered to reduce cartilage wear

Research presented today at AVS Meeting in Albuquerque has implications for osteoarthritis

American Institute of Physics

WASHINGTON, D.C., (Oct. 20, 2010) -- A team of researchers in North Carolina has discovered that lubricin, a synovial fluid glycoprotein, reduces wear to bone cartilage. This result, which has implications for the treatment of sufferers of osteoarthritis, will be presented today at the AVS 57th International Symposium & Exhibition, taking place this week at the Albuquerque Convention Center in New Mexico.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, the degenerative joint disease. It mostly affects cartilage, the slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they meet to form a joint, and allows bones to glide over one another with limited friction and wear. Osteoarthritis causes cartilage to be broken down through a vicious cycle of mechanical and metabolic factors, and mechanical wear of cartilage is widely believed to contribute to this process. Eventually, the bones under the cartilage rub together, which can cause a tremendous amount of pain, swelling, and loss of motion at the joint.

Many studies have examined cartilage friction and lubrication with the goal of understanding cartilage wear prevention. Very few studies have focused on measuring wear directly, though, and until now no other studies have directly assessed the effects of synovial fluid constituents in mediating wear.

"We measured the effect of the synovial fluid protein lubricin on cartilage wear," explains research team member Stefan Zauscher, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, as well as biomedical engineering, at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

"Our measurements were performed at the surface level using an atomic force microscope with pressures and sliding speeds comparable to those seen in joints. The measurements show a direct link between lubricin in solution and reduction of cartilage wear," says Zauscher.

This indicates that lubricin is important for cartilage preservation physiologically, which may have important implications for treating or preventing joint disease in the future.

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The presentation, "Lubricin Reduces Microscale Cartilage Wear" is at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 20, 2010.
ABSTRACT: http://www.avssymposium.org/Open/SearchPapers.aspx?PaperNumber=TR+NS+SS-WeA-7

MORE INFORMATION FOR JOURNALISTS

The AVS 57th International Symposium and Exhibition is being held October 17-22, 2010, at the Albuquerque Convention Center, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The meeting includes more than 1,200 talks and posters presented in more than 130 technical sessions. All meeting information, including directions to the Convention Center, can be found at: http://www2.avs.org/symposium/

REGISTRATION -- Staff reporters and professional freelance journalists working on assignment are invited to attend the conference free of charge. Journalist registration instructions can be found at: http://www2.avs.org/symposium/AVS57/pdfs/pressinvite.pdf

PRESS ROOM

The AVS press room will be located in East Lobby of the Albuquerque Convention Center. Press room hours are Monday-Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The phone number there is 408-205-0595. Press Kits containing company product announcements and other news will be available on CD-ROM in the press room. Also access the online press room at: http://www2.avs.org/symposium/AVS57/pages/press57.html

USEFUL LINKS

Complete Program: http://www2.avs.org/symposium/AVS57/pages/tech_program.html
Searchable abstracts: http://www.avssymposium.org/Open/SearchPapers.aspx
Topical Conferences: http://www2.avs.org/symposium/AVS57/pages/tech_topconf.html#EN
Meeting Home Page: http://www2.avs.org/symposium/

PLENARY SESSION

The plenary talk, "Carbon Nanotubes and Single Sheet Graphene," which will be at noon on Monday, October 18, 2010 in Ballroom B of the Albuquerque Convention Center. See: http://www2.avs.org/symposium/AVS57/pages/sessions_lecturer.html

SPECIAL TUTORIALS

AVS promotes communication, dissemination of knowledge, recommended practices, research, and education in a broad range of technologically relevant topics. One way that it does this is by offering special tutorials in areas such as:

- Graphene Tutorial (Sunday, October 17, 2010, 1:00-5:00 p.m.)

- Tutorial on Nanoparticle Characterization and Toxicity: Significant Challenges and Critical Needs (Sunday, October 17, 2010, 1:00-5:00 p.m.)

To access the complete descriptions of these special tutorials, see: http://www2.avs.org/symposium/AVS57/pages/special_tutorials.html

ABOUT AVS

As a professional membership organization, AVS fosters networking within the materials, processing, and interfaces community at various local, national or international meetings and exhibits throughout the year. AVS publishes four journals, honors and recognizes members through its prestigious awards program, offers training and other technical resources, as well as career services.

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