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Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2013 Dec;9(12):721-30. doi: 10.1038/nrrheum.2013.141. Epub 2013 Oct 1.

Platelet-rich plasma for managing pain and inflammation in osteoarthritis.

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Regenerative Medicine Laboratory, BioCruces Health Research Institute, Cruces University Hospital, Plaza Cruces S/N, 48903 Barakaldo, Spain.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common disease involving joint damage, an inadequate healing response and progressive deterioration of the joint architecture. Autologous blood-derived products, such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP), are key sources of molecules involved in tissue repair and regeneration. These products can deliver a collection of bioactive molecules that have important roles in fundamental processes, including inflammation, angiogenesis, cell migration and metabolism in pathological conditions, such as OA. PRP has anti-inflammatory properties through its effects on the canonical nuclear factor κB signalling pathway in multiple cell types including synoviocytes, macrophages and chondrocytes. PRP contains hundreds of different molecules; cells within the joint add to this milieu by secreting additional biologically active molecules in response to PRP. The net results of PRP therapy are varied and can include angiogenesis, the production of local conditions that favour anabolism in the articular cartilage, or the recruitment of repair cells. However, the molecules found in PRP that contribute to angiogenesis and the protection of joint integrity need further clarification. Understanding PRP in molecular terms could help us to exploit its therapeutic potential, and aid the development of novel treatments and tissue-engineering approaches, for the different stages of joint degeneration.

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