Vincent Group | Molecular Pathogenesis of Osteoarthritis
Our research focuses on all aspects of osteoarthritis, from understanding its causes to developing new treatments for the condition to improve people's quality of life.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most prevalent joint disease yet it is still very poorly understood.
Although once considered a disease of attrition of the articular surfaces, data that have emerged over the past few years have identified articular cartilage breakdown by two important pathogenic proteases – Adamts5 and Mmp13.
In mice, we have demonstrated that induction of proteases is highly mechanosensitive as disease can be prevented, and proteases suppressed, if the joint is immobilised after disease is induced (by surgical joint destabilisation).
The cells of the joint use a variety of methods by which they sense and respond to mechanical disruption. Some of these methods involve release of growth factors that are stored in the pericellular matrix of cartilage and are released in response to mechanical injury. These growth factors include FGF2, TGFb and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF). Their release does not drive protease induction but more likely drives beneficial responses within the damaged tissue perhaps attempting to drive cartilage regeneration and repair.
The mechanosensitive pathway(s) that drive pathogenic responses in the joint are currently unknown and their identification is paramount.
In 2013 we were awarded a Centre of Excellence for OA Pathogenesis research by Arthritis Research UK. This award, which has matched funding from Oxford University, has created a cross-disciplinary yet cohesive, vibrant group of individuals working in and around the area of OA. Funding for a further five years from 2018-2023 has recently been awarded by Arthritis Research UK. The Centre has strong links with the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Sport, Exercise and OA, and other Centres around the UK.
- Professor Stuart Bevan, KCL
- Professor Ian Clark, UEA
- Professor Kati Mikecz, USA
- Dr Francesco Dell'Accio, QMUL
- Professor Jacob Klein (Weizman Institute)
- Arthritis Research UK
- Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research (KTRR)