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Clin Cases Miner Bone Metab. 2013 Jan;10(1):26-9. doi: 10.11138/ccmbm/2013.10.1.026.

Growth factors in the treatment of early osteoarthritis.

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Orthopedic Clinic, Department of Special Surgical Science, University of Florence, CTO, Florence, Italy.


Regenerative medicine is the science that studies the regeneration of biological tissues obtained through use of cells, with the aid of support structures and with biomolecules such as growth factors. As regards the growth factors the PRP, or the platelet-rich plasma, obtained from a withdrawal of autologous blood, concentrating the platelets, represents a safe, economical, easy to prepare and easy to apply source of growth factors. Numerous growth factors are in fact within the platelets and in particular a large number of them have a specific activity on neo-proliferation, on cartilage regeneration and in particular also an antiapoptotic effect on chondroblasts: - The PDGF which regulates the secretion and synthesis of collagen;- The EGF that causes cellular proliferation, endothelial chemotaxis and angiogenesis;- The VEGF that increases angiogenesis and vascular permeability;- The TGF-beta that stimulates the proliferation of undifferentiated MSC, stimulates chemotaxis of endothelial cells and angiogenesis;- The bFGF that promotes the growth and differentiation of chondrocytes and osteoblasts stimulates mitogenesis of mesenchymal cells, chondrocytes and osteoblasts. These properties have led to the development of studies that evaluated the efficacy of treatment of infiltrations in the knee and hip with platelet-derived growth factors. Regarding the knee it was demonstrated that in patients with moderate degree of gonarthrosis, the PRP is able to significantly reduce the pain and improve joint function, both on placebo and towards infiltrations with hyaluronic acid. The success of the treatment was proportional to the age of and inversely proportional to the severity of osteoarthritis according to Kellgren and Lawrence classification. The possibility of infiltrations guided with ultrasound into the hip led us to extend the indications also to hip arthrosis, as already showed by Sanchez. Even in coxarthrosis preliminary results at 6 and 12 months show that a cycle of 3 infiltrations of PRP has significantly decreased the pain and increased range of motion and joint function.


early osteoarthritis; growth factors; platelet rich plasma

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