What stimulates cartilage growth? Can you rebuild cartilage? Does cartilage ever grow back?
In short, it does grow back. However, the ability to do so is determined by the body’s consistency of microRNA molecules that are responsible for regeneration.
In this article, we will cover the newfound research of cartilage regrowth and the huge opportunities that come with this knowledge.
Whenever you’re ready to learn about another miracle of the body, keep reading.
What Is Joint Cartilage?
In each joint, hyaline cartilage is present. It’s also known as articular cartilage, because it covers the surface of the bone where it articulates, crosses to form the joint.
For instance, in the knee, the bottom of the femur, the top of the tibia, and the kneecap back are covered with such cartilage. The thickness of such cartilage is variable for each joint. In the wrist, cartilage can be less than a single millimeter, whereas, in the knee, the cartilage can be as thick as 6 millimeters.
This cartilage has several primary purposes. The first is to smooth movement by provisioning a slipper and articular platform for bones to glide over each other as the joint straightens or flexes. The second is to absorb shock, meaning it cushions the bones from impact during weight-bearing activities.
This cartilage also contains synovial fluid, which is a vicious and sticky fluid that circulates and lubricates the joint nutrients. When the joint is resting, the fluid is similarly stored in the cartilage to water that contains itself in a sponge.
When the joint bear’s weight or bends, the fluid is squeezed gradually own, leading to a healthy and lubricated joint environment.
Pain, Irregularities, Poor Healing
The cartilage on its own does not have nerves. Thus, damaged cartilage cannot cause pain directly. But the friction between the bones of the joint, as well as other irregularities like a bone spur can cause severe pain and discomfort.
Because cartilage does not have blood vessels, the cartilage on its own does not heal greatly. When cartilage gets damaged or thins out, a limited amount of new cartilage can be developed. Not to mention, the new platform grows in a bumpy and irregular pattern.
The result of this leads to bones rubbing against each, which is often the source of the pain. Gradual onset of pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joint is early and later sign of osteoarthritis.
So Can You Rebuild Cartilage?
If you get cut, your body will heal. If you burn some skin with a road rash, it will grow back. Lose a limb, and that’s gone forever. Unless you’re an axolotl, salamander, or zebrafish, you won’t be able to regrow your limbs.
But scientists discovered that some molecules that are critical to the recovery process of these species are at work within us. Certain microRNA molecules are the backbone behind limb regeneration in salamanders. And it turns out that we have similar molecules in our own body, which can reproduce cartilage to heal joints.
Thus, the adage of joint cartilage being gone for good is gone for good. The discovery of these active molecules in leg joints might help in the discovery of new treatments for joint problems, such as arthritis.
There is much knowledge about the salamander and zebrafish limb regeneration ability, so how can humans harness this ability to accelerate the repair of tissue? Find out about some of the peptides that have miraculous healing properties.
Cartilage Molecules Found
To find these molecules, the research team examine the cartilage’s age and noticed a slight chemical change in the tissue in the aging process that it adopts. By extracting the proteins and analyzing them with mass spectrometry, they were able to ascertain the age of these proteins.
As they continued to move down from the hips to the knees and down to the ankles, they noticed that the proteins were younger in a progressive manner. This meant that the cartilage was regenerating on its own, and at a much faster rate the closer they were to the ground.
By confirming that similar regeneration methods were working in other species meant that the scientific community could identify which molecules humans lack. Boosting the production of these molecules in targeted areas could stop osteoarthritis or slow cartilage degradation.
One of the most common causes of disability in the world is the condition in which joint cartilage degrades. Thus, leading to decreased mobility and painful movement. The only option to treat this condition at this point is to replace the joint. But if the tissue can be pushed to regenerate, patients could avoid intense surgeries and the pain of living life.
Some research-individuals are already experimenting with microRNA injections in mice trials. There is a slow acquisition of funding for the conduct of such experiments, which can eventually lead to a slowing of osteoarthritis development in animals.
It’s quite possible that if scientists assemble a correct microRNA combination, these molecules might one day promote regrowth of limbs after traumatic experiences. But for now, the sights are set on arthritis.
More On Health
Now that you know that you know the answer to the question of “Can you rebuild cartilage?”, you might regain the ounce of hope that is needed when the whole world seems to be against you. If you’re in pain now, that might not be the case in the future.
Lots of great medical potential is pushed away by the big players of the industry, research is hard to fund and many “miracles” fall out of sight forever.
If you’re interested in keeping up to date with the latest medical news, check out some of our other advised articles below or on the sidebar.