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Basketball Players and Healthy Joints

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Basketball Players and Healthy Joints

Post by Canuck Singh on Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:54 am

Anyone who has played basketball or football for years will tell you those types of high-impact sports sure takes their toll on joints such as the knees and ankles as well as the spine. Now research has confirmed that high-impact force not only damages joint tissue, it causes premature degeneration of cartilage and joint tissue.

When tissue is damaged by an impact-related injury, it typically stimulates an influx of leukocytes (immune cells) known for promoting tissue regeneration and healing. However this research showed that leukocytes can be a double edged sword. In the May 2006 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and the Michael E DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, Texas, presented the results of a study that suggest leukocytes go beyond the zone of damaged cells and attack healthy cartilage cells after an acute injury.

The results indicated that after damage had occurred via the impact, the leukocytes not only attacked the damaged cells (to clean up debris and promote healing), they also attacked and murdered surrounding healthy cartilage cells!

According to the researchers, the real culprit was the leukocytes' generation of noxious nitric oxide (NO). The scientists confirmed this by demonstrating that the killing of healthy cartilage cells (chondrocytes) could be averted by desferoxamine, a chemical that blocks the production of NO. Based on these results, it would appear as though a person plays high-impact sports should probably steer clear of taking supplements that promote NO production. The increase in NO and leukocytes may provide excessive damage to cartilage tissue that accelerates the degeneration of joint tissue.

Source: Arthritis & Rheumatism Vol54; 5, 2006.
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