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The research will provide critical new insights into the ‘cross-talk’ between cartilage and muscle during PTOA.

This will enable researchers to better understand the processes associated with joint degeneration during PTOA, and establish therapeutic potential of Fetuin-A on both joint tissue structure and pain.

The R21 grant is titled: “Fetuin-A in Post-traumatic OA; at the Crossroads of Joint and Muscle Degeneration.” Dr. Longobardi’s team will analyze the protective potential of the glycoprotein fetuin-A, on cartilage, bone and muscle degeneration, as well as on chronic pain.

Muscles are critical for maintaining joint mobility, stability and function, and muscle weakness has been associated with OA onset and progression. Therefore, analyzing both joint and muscle degeneration will provide new perspectives for more effective OA treatment and pain management in the future.

The preliminary studies leading to this project have been supported by a UNC TARC Pilot Research Grant.