Rheumatology Osteoarthritis Research | NYU Langone Health

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Division of Rheumatology Research Rheumatology Osteoarthritis Research

Rheumatology Osteoarthritis Research

The Division of Rheumatology actively pursues osteoarthritis research in order to improve patient care. Scientists conduct basic, translational, and clinical research under the leadership of the research program’s director, Steven Abramson, MD.

We gather research data from patients seen at the NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue Arthritis Clinic and the NYU Langone Orthopedic Center, as well as the Specimen and Matched Phenotype Linked Evaluation (SAMPLE) bioregistry.

Jonathan Samuels, MD, and his colleagues have several osteoarthritis studies under way, and Mukundan G. Attur, PhD, is actively engaged in some promising basic science research. Collaborations with other NYU Langone divisions and departments and work by laboratory scientists are integral to our program.

Osteoarthritic Knee Pain in Bariatric Surgery Patients

Dr. Samuels and his colleagues are investigating obesity-related osteoarthritis from multiple angles, which could help shape further research questions and treatments for osteoarthritis.

Molecular Mechanisms and Knee Pain

Our scientists explore the molecular mechanisms that may allow bariatric surgery to reduce knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis and evaluate biomarkers that may point to the most effective pain relief pathways. They have isolated several inflammatory biomarkers in patient blood samples, including leptin and interleukin-1 receptor antagonists. The levels of some inflammatory biomarkers are significantly higher in knee osteoarthritis patients who are obese than in those who are not obese.

Inflammatory biomarker levels also decline in patients who are obese during the first year after bariatric surgery, potentially contributing to the relief of knee pain. Researchers are hoping to replicate their findings in a larger patient cohort and to identify relevant postoperative metabolic changes beyond lower food intake.

Total Knee Replacement Compared with Bariatric Surgery

Our division is one of four sites in a multicenter trial comparing pain improvement in patients who are extremely obese who undergo a total knee replacement with those who opt to have bariatric surgery first.

A Retrospective Analysis

Dr. Samuels and colleagues are assessing data from the last decade of bariatric surgery at NYU Langone and identifying all surgery patients who had knee pain as a comorbidity.

Viscosupplementation for Knee Osteoarthritis

With other clinical research, Dr. Samuels and colleagues have found that single-shot regimens of hyaluronic acid viscosupplementation to treat knee osteoarthritis are no less effective than multiweek viscosupplementation courses. Likewise, obesity does not significantly affect patients’ response. Younger patients respond better than older patients. Those older than 70 years improve the least, and those with less severe radiographic disease show a slight trend toward more improvement.

Collaborations in Osteoarthritis Research

Our division works with physician researchers at the Joint Preservation and Arthritis Center to analyze data from the Joint Preservation Registry, which collects clinical, biomarker, and outcomes data over a five-year period in order to advance personalized medicine.

We also collaborate on basic and translational research with scientists in NYU Langone’s Department of Radiology, Division of Bariatric Surgery, and Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism.

Contact Us

Please contact rheumresearch@nyulangone.org for more information about our osteoarthritis research program.