Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common disorder of the musculoskeletal system and is a consequence of mechanical and biological events that destabilize tissue homeostasis in articular joints. Controlling chondrocyte death and apoptosis, function, response to anabolic and catabolic stimuli, matrix synthesis or degradation and inflammation is the most important target of potential chondroprotective treatment, aimed to retard or stabilize the progression of OA. Although many drugs or substances have been recently introduced for the treatment of OA, the majority of them relieve pain and increase function, but do not modify the complex pathological processes that occur in these tissues. Pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) have a number of well-documented physiological effects on cells and tissues including the upregulation of gene expression of members of the transforming growth factor β super family, the increase in glycosaminoglycan levels, and an anti-inflammatory action. Therefore, there is a strong rationale supporting the in vivo use of biophysical stimulation with PEMFs for the treatment of OA. In the present paper some recent experimental in vitro and in vivo data on the effect of PEMFs on articular cartilage were reviewed. These data strongly support the clinical use of PEMFs in OA patients.
- Articular cartilage
- Pulsed electromagnetic fields
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