Cholesterol damages the cartilage between our bones
Too much cholesterol is unhealthy for the human body. High cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease, strokes and some types of cancer. Researchers have now found that too much cholesterol appears to be an additional burden on the cartilage between the bones. This can ultimately lead to the development of osteoarthritis.
Scientists from Queensland University of Technology found in an investigation that too high a cholesterol level increases the risk of osteoarthritis. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology" (FASEB).
What is cholesterol and where is it produced?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance and is mainly produced in the liver, although most other body cells can also produce cholesterol. Cholesterol is important for human health. It is used by the body to produce hormones, vitamin D, bile acids, and cell membranes, doctors say. There are two main types of cholesterol. The good cholesterol HDL and the bad or unhealthy cholesterol LDL. The HDL cholesterol removes the LDL cholesterol from the circulation and transports it back to the liver for processing. The unhealthy cholesterol LDL is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, the experts explain.
Doctors cause knee injuries in experimental animals as in people with osteoarthritis
Two groups of rodents were examined for the study. In one of the groups, the genes were changed so that the animals had high cholesterol levels in their blood. The doctors performed a surgical procedure on the laboratory animals with high cholesterol levels to produce knee injuries similar to those in people with osteoarthritis. Animals with high cholesterol were more likely to develop the disease more severely compared to animals with normal cholesterol, the scientists say.
High cholesterol can cause cells to die and lead to arthritis
A high cholesterol level triggers so-called mitochondrial oxidative stress for human cartilage cells. This causes these cells to die and osteoarthritis develops, explains author Dr. Indira Prasadam from the Queensland University of Technology.
Diet and medication can prevent osteoarthritis
The team of medical professionals, together with nutritionists, has already started to educate the public about healthier nutrition. This is to keep the cholesterol level at a manageable level. In this way, damage to the joints can also be avoided. The scientists also found that the drug atorvastatin is able to reduce the development of osteoarthritis. When the mice and rats were treated with the drug atorvastatin and antioxidants that target mitochondria in the trial, the development of osteoarthritis was reduced. (as)