Joint Injections Show Effect in Osteoarthritis Study

In a recent study published by researchers from the Gail Holmes Equine Orthopaedic Research Center at Colorado State University, both intra-articular medications polysulfated glycosaminoglycan (PSGAG) and hyaluronic acid (HA) possessed the ability to alter cartilage metabolism in treated horses.

"These study results clearly indicate that both drugs are viable therapeutic options for osteoarthritis in horses with osteoarthritis," reported lead author David Frisbie, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS.

To evaluate the effect of PSGAG and HA on clinical signs and various other measures of osteoarthritis, researchers utilized 24 horses with a similar degree of osteoarthritis in one carpal joint. Eight horses were injected with PSGAG, eight horses were injected with HA, and eight horses served as the untreated control group. Injections were administered 14, 21, and 28 days post-operatively. The researchers evaluated the horses for 70 days after induction of osteoarthritis.

"Despite the fact that we did not observe any difference in the clinical signs of lameness between the treated and control horses, both HA and PSGAG did exhibit disease-modifying properties determined by the post-treatment analysis of the structure and metabolism of the articular cartilage," said Frisbie.

Hyaluronic acid and PSGAG are the only two drugs currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for intra-articular administration in horses with osteoarthritis. Other products that have demonstrated the ability to ameliorate the clinical signs of OA and/or alter cartilage metabolism include:

  • Avocado and soybean unsaponifiable extracts,
  • Topical diclofenac liposomal cream,
  • Triamcinolone acetonide,
  • Autologous conditioned serum, as well as
  • Interleukin-1 receptor agonists.

The study, "Evaluation of polysulfated glycosaminoglycans or sodium hyaluronan administered intra-articularly for treatment of osteoarthritis with experimentally induced osteoarthritis," was published in the February 2009 edition of the American Journal of Veterinary Research.

About the Author

Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she's worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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