Pathophysiology and Clinical Management of Degenerative Joint Disease

Mande M; M; IBJBAJD; PM. "Pathophysiology and Clinical Management of Degenerative Joint Disease." The Kenya Veterinarian. 2005;28:33-36.


Degenerative joint disease is a common and important disease that affects humans as well as domestic animals especially dogs and horses. The etiological factors for the disease in humans and animals are similar. The disease is characterized by progressive deterioration of the joint, thinning ofhyaline cartilage,joint effusion
and periarticular osteophyte formation. Trauma, sepsis, prolonged immobilization, immune-mediated disease, congenital malarticulation (e.g. hip dysplasia) or developmental diseases (eg. osteochondrosis), may incite the development of degenerative joint disease. The insults stimulate the release of degenerative enzymes from chondrocytes and these destroy the articular cartilage matrix. Two distinct functional process in injured chondrocytes are responsible for the positive
feed-back cascade that ultimately results in joint destruction. The catabolic process is induced by proinflammatory stimuli and causes secretion of proteases, suppression ofmatrix synthesis and inhibition
of chondrocyte proliferation. The anabolic program causes the increased production of extracellular matrix, protease inhibitors and cell replication. In the recent past a lot ofbasic and clinical research on degenerative joint disease has been conducted. Deeper understanding ofthe pathophysiology has resulted in the development of new treatment modalities for the disease. Practicing clinicians need to keep abreast with new knowledge and biomedical technology in order to
manage their patients in the best way possible. This paper collates the current knowledge ofthe pathophysiology and clinical management of degenerative joint disease with special reference to the canine species

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