Skeletal Muscle Wasting and Its Relationship With Osteoarthritis: a Mini-Review of Mechanisms and Current Interventions

Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2019 Jun 15;21(8):40. doi: 10.1007/s11926-019-0839-4.


Purpose of review: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a subset of joint disorders resulting in degeneration of synovial joints. This leads to pain, disability and loss of independence. Knee and hip OA are extremely prevalent, and their occurrence increases with ageing. Similarly, loss of muscle mass and function, sarcopenia, occurs during ageing.

Recent findings: Little is known about the impact of muscle wasting on OA progression; nevertheless, it has been suggested that muscle wasting directly affects the stability of the joints and loss of mobility leads to gradual degeneration of articular cartilage. The molecular mechanisms underlying muscle wasting in OA are not well understood; however, these are probably related to changes in gene expression, as well as epigenetic modifications. It is becoming clear that skeletal muscle wasting plays an important role in OA development and/or progression. Here, we discuss mechanisms, current interventions, such as exercise, and potentially novel approaches, such as modulation of microRNAs, aiming at ameliorating OA symptoms through maintaining muscle mass and function.

Keywords: Ageing; Exercise; Muscle; Osteoarthritis; microRNAs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism
  • Aging / pathology
  • Cartilage, Articular / metabolism
  • Cartilage, Articular / pathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology*
  • Muscular Atrophy / complications*
  • Muscular Atrophy / metabolism
  • Muscular Atrophy / pathology
  • Osteoarthritis / complications*
  • Osteoarthritis / metabolism
  • Osteoarthritis / pathology