Purpose of review: Obesity is one of the main risk factors of the incidence and prevalence of knee osteoarthritis. Recent epidemiological data showing an increased risk of hand osteoarthritis in obese patients opened the door to a role of systemic inflammatory mediators, adipokines, released by adipose tissue.
Recent findings: Recent experimental studies confirm the critical roles of adipokines in the pathophysiologic features of osteoarthritis, with an emphasis on a new member, chemerin. Animal models of diet-induced obesity show that overload cannot completely explain the aggravation of spontaneous or posttraumatic knee osteoarthritis. We now have data suggesting that some adipokines may be surrogate biomarkers for severity of osteoarthritis.
Summary: Preclinical studies targeting adipokines are now expected to provide new hope for patients with osteoarthritis, especially those with metabolic syndrome.