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J Cell Physiol. 2017 Aug;232(8):1971-1978. doi: 10.1002/jcp.25716. Epub 2017 Mar 3.

Systemic and Local Adipose Tissue in Knee Osteoarthritis.

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Rheumatology Unit, Department of Medicine (DIMED), University Hospital of Padova, Padova, Italy.
Clinica Medica 3, Department of Medicine (DIMED), University Hospital of Padova, Padova, Italy.
Institute of Human Anatomy, Department of Neuroscience, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.
Laboratory of Immunorheumatology and Tissue Regeneration, Rizzoli Orthopedic Research Institute, Bologna, Italy.


Osteoarthritis is a common chronic joint disorder affecting older people. The knee is the major joint affected. The symptoms of osteoarthritis include limited range of motion, joint swelling, and pain causing disability. There are no disease modifying drugs available, and treatments are mainly focused on pain management. Total knee replacement performed at the end stage of the disease is considered the only cure available. It has been found that obese people have an increased risk to develop not only knee but also hand osteoarthritis. This supports the concept that adipose tissue might be related to osteoarthritis not only through overloading. As matter of fact, obesity induces a low grade systemic inflammatory state characterized by the production and secretion of several adipocytokines that may have a role in osteoarthritis development. Furthermore, hypertension, impaired glucose, and lipid metabolism, which are comorbidities associated with obesity, have been shown to alter the joint tissue homeostasis. Moreover, infrapatellar fat pad in the knee has been demonstrated to be a local source of adipocytokines and potentially contribute to osteoarthritis pathogenesis. Here, we discuss the role of systemic and local adipose tissue in knee osteoarthritis. J. Cell. Physiol. 232: 1971-1978, 2017.

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