Treating Osteoarthritis has proven to be quite difficult due to the decreased blood supply and slow healing rate of cartilage cells in the knee. This has limited treatment options to either a conservative rehabilitative approach, or a significantly more invasive, surgical approach. However, the regenerative potential of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) has spurred much exploration into its use as an non-surgical alternative for stimulating healing and cartilage repair in arthritis. A new study published in the Journal of Animal and Poultry Sciences by researchers out of Shiraz University in Iran examines the use of Platelet Rich Plasma for the treatment of Osteoarthritis in guinea pigs.
Twenty guinea pigs were anesthetized, and a an ACL injury was surgically induced in the Stifle joint (the guinea pig equivalent of the knee joint). The ACL injury was purposely induced to stimulate arthritic changes in the knee over the 20 weeks of the study. By the 12th week of the study, all of the guinea pigs showed characteristic Osteoarthritic changes on X Ray imaging. Each X Ray was given an arthritis grading between 0 (no arthritis) and 4 (severe arthritis). At 12 weeks, half of the Guinea pigs were treated with PRP and the other half did not receive any treatment at all.
Upon completion of the 20 week study, a second X ray was taken and compared to the 12 week image. The results revealed that guinea pigs treated with PRP showed an average decrease of 2 rankings in their Arthritis score, while the non-PRP group showed an average increase of 2 rankings. This study adds much credibility to the regenerative potential of PRP for Osteoarthritis treatment, because X ray imaging provided visual evidence of its beneficial effects. Previous studies have relied on pain assessments and functional improvements to grade PRP benefit. Although further animal studies and human trials are needed to fully assess the efficacy of PRP for cartilage healing and Arthritis, this study provides further evidence for its regenerative potential.