Studies have shown that oxidative stress plays a major role in the damage to the bone and cartilage in our joints caused by osteoarthritis. In addition, this common, painful and disabling disease also causes ageing of chondrocytes – vital cells that help keep cartilage healthy.

This knowledge has led clinical and biomedical scientists to investigate whether the high-powered antioxidant, C60, can help to neutralise the oxidative damage of osteoarthritis.

In 2007, Yudoh et al studied the effects of C60 and its derivatives on osteoarthritic disease in the knee joints of rabbits. They found that C60 did indeed show a number of beneficial effects on the diseased joints. For example, the C60 inhibited both the breakdown of cartilage and the ageing of the chondrocyte cells. These results suggested that C60 could indeed help protect joint cartilage against the damage of osteoarthritis. These results which were strongly endorsed much more recently by Yoshioka et al (2016), who added that C60 was not only able to neutralise the oxidation process without being used up, but also without being metabolically degraded or ‘spoiled’.

In 2014, Liu et al presented a review of well over 100 studies of C60 and its effects on orthopaedic conditions including osteoarthritis, cartilage degeneration, spinal disc degeneration and vertebral bone marrow disorder. They concluded that, “C60 and derivatives have shown successful applications in intensive biomedical research due to their unparalleled physical and chemical properties”, and added that nanotechnology involving C60 also offered exciting new opportunities.

 

Bibliography

Liu, Q, Cui, Q, Li, XJ, Jin L, Connective Tissue Research (55:71-79) 2014, The application of buckminsterfullerene C60 and derivatives in orthopaedic research

Yoshioka H, Yui N, Yatabe K, Fujiya H, Musha H, et al, Journal of Osteoarthritis (1:115) 2016, Polyhydroxylated C60 Fullerenes prevent chondrocyte catabolic activity at nanomolar concentrations in osteoarthritis

Yudoh K, Shishido K, Murayama H, Yano M, Matsubayashi L, Takada H, Nakamura H, Masuko K, Kato T & Nishioka K, Arthritis & Rheumatism (56:10) 2007, Water-soluble C60 fullerene prevents degeneration of articular cartilage in osteoarthritis via down-regulation of chondrocyte catabolic activity and inhibition of cartilage degeneration during disease development

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