Biological markers in osteoarthritis

Bone. 2012 Aug;51(2):265-77. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2012.04.001. Epub 2012 Apr 12.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is considered as a chronic disease with a long "silent" period. The diagnosis is generally based on clinical symptoms and radiographic changes. However X-ray has a poor sensitivity and a relatively large precision error that does not allow an early detection of OA or the monitoring of joint damage progression. The limitations of the tools that are currently available for OA assessment have been the impetus to identify specific biological markers that reflect quantitative and dynamic variations in joint remodeling. Research has focused on the structural components of cartilage matrix, especially type II collagen degradation markers. In spite of a significant increase of some markers in individuals with early stage of OA, the large overlap with control subjects indicates that the current biomarkers used alone have limited diagnostic potential. However, the combination of specific markers seems to improve the prediction of disease progression at the individual level. Several types of treatment have been investigated but the lack of medications with definitively demonstrated chondroprotective activity has limited the assessment of the potential role of biomarkers for monitoring patients' responses to the treatment of OA. In this review, we will use the BIPED classification that appeared in 2006 for OA markers to describe the potential usage of a given marker [5]. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled "Osteoarthritis".

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers / metabolism*
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Osteoarthritis / diagnosis
  • Osteoarthritis / drug therapy
  • Osteoarthritis / genetics
  • Osteoarthritis / metabolism*
  • Prognosis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Biomarkers