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Platelet-Rich Plasma May Benefit Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis by Blocking Inflammation

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Knee osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that can be caused by aging, excessive weight, traumatic injury, strain, congenital joint abnormality or joint deformity. In recent years, clinicians have explored a cutting-edge treatment known as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy in treating knee osteoarthritis. PRP is acquired by drawing a sample of a patient’s own venous blood and centrifuging the blood into multiple layers, one of which contains platelets and various growth factors. Once isolated, PRP is injected into the joint, theoretically improving the healing properties and cellular cascade within the joint space, and potentially resolving symptoms from osteoarthritis.

Just last year, a research group from China published a clinical study analyzing the effects of PRP versus placebo in treating knee osteoarthritis. The study consisted of three hundred-sixty-six patients (three hundred-fifty finished trial to completion)with knee osteoarthritis (both male and female) who were young adults between the ages of eighteen and thirty years old (the average age was twenty-four years old). The patients were randomly selected to receive once-weekly double-blind treatment in either the PRP group or placebo group. At the beginning of treatment, average age, time since knee osteoarthritis diagnosis, and body mass index(BMI) were similar between both groups. The average duration of treatment was eight weeks and patients in the PRP group were injected with 2, 4, 8, 12, or 14 mL of PRP.

The study results reported the maximum tolerated dose of PRP to be 12 mL and the most frequent adverse effects observed were elevated blood pressure and elevated urine protein levels. However, adverse effects were mostly observed in patients that received doses of 12 and 14 mL. Hence, these dose levels were not recommended and the optimal dose of PRP was determined to be 10 mL. The results of the study also reported reductions in various plasma inflammatory factors and pro-angiogenic factors in patients treated with PRP compared to the placebo group (specific markers can be viewed in the article link above).

The study concluded that the obtained clinical data illustrated reduced humoral and cellular immune responses which led to beneficial effects on histological parameters for joint osteoarthritis.  In addition, The study stated that PRP treatment for knee osteoarthritis provided many beneficial effects that include reducing joint inflammation, improving cartilage destruction, reducing bone damage, and repairing joint tissue. Therefore, the study results suggest that PRP has a therapeutic effect on knee osteoarthritis and highlighted its capacity as an anti-inflammatory treatment for knee osteoarthritis. Although much of the results in this study need to be further investigated, and longer follow up time is needed, the study highlights the potential importance of a dose response curve for PRP treatment of joint osteoarthritis, and well as the potential therapeutic mechanism of PRP for improving symptoms with OA. More research into this area is needed to gain a larger understanding of the potential therapeutic mechanisms of Platelet Rich Plasma.


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