Study Discovers Way to Measure a Molecule That Indicates Progression of Osteoarthritis

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Researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have successfully measured a certain molecule that is indicative of osteoarthritis and many other inflammatory diseases by making use of a newly developed technology.

This preclinical study has put to use a solid-state nanopore sensor as a tool for the purpose of analysis of hyaluronic acid (HA). Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring molecule that is engaged with joint lubrication, inflammation, and tissue hydration in the body. The size distribution and abundance of hyaluronic acid in biological fluids is recognized as an indicator of other chronic inflammatory diseases and inflammation. It can also indicate to what extent the disease of osteoarthritis has progressed.

Properties of the New Method Makes It a Lucrative Option Over Others

Assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Wake Forest School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist, Adam R. Hall, said that these results established a new, quantitative method for the purpose of assessment of an important molecular biomarker that connects the gap in the conventional, modern technology.

He also stated that the small sample, speed, and sensitivity requirements needed by this approach make it an attractive basis for a powerful analytic tool with certain advantages over present technologies of assessment.

The method that is most extensively used is gel electrophoresis, which is semi-quantitative, messy, and slow and it also requires a many starting material. Various other conventional technologies comprise size-exclusion chromatography and mass spectrometry. These are costly and limited in range, and multi-angle light scattering and it is considered non-quantitative and possesses limited precision.

This research has been published on the current issue of Nature Communications. The research was led by Hall and Elaheh Rahbar, Ph.D., Wake Forest Baptist, and was done in collaboration with scientists from the University of Oklahoma and Cornell University.

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