Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Previously held views that the pathogenesis of idiopathic osteoarthritis (OA) originated in the synovial joint and was not influenced by systemic metabolic disturbances in the patient is inconsistent with recent data demonstrate skewing of the growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor-1 axis in the symptomatic OA patient. In light of this novel information, the role of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 in the pathogenesis and progression of OA requires further definition. In male patients with OA, the red blood cell sequesters more growth hormone than an aged-matched control group. Thus, this growth hormone "depot" may provide a mechanism for removal of "toxic" levels of growth hormone from the circulation. Storage of "excess" growth hormone in red cells may reduce the inflammatory or otherwise undesirable "toxic" actions of GH. In some patients, serum growth hormones levels may exceed three-times the average value considered normal. These "episodic" variations in growth hormone levels may play a significant role in the elevated levels of serum growth hormone seen in the OA patient. The connection between elevated growth hormone and decreased insulin-like growth factor-1 levels and the defined cartilage anabolic and catabolic pathways defined in in vitro assays of articular cartilage derived from the OA patients remain to be more precisely defined. However, the dampened insulin-like growth factor-1 response in OA coupled with elevated cartilage extracellular matrix degradation (mediated by metalloproteinases) and depressed compensatory biosynthesis (induced and perpetuated by the presence of cytokines such as interleukin-1 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha) may, in fact, act synergistically to suppress normal cartilage repair mechanisms thus resulting in progressive destructive lesions of the cartilage and bone.