Defects in articular cartilage can induce osteoarthritis by causing molecular changes in the synovial fluid. Research in molecular biology discovered the major inducer of osteoarthritis was the general inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1 (IL-1), which plays a key role in accelerating tissue destruction and the repair mechanisms.
In a healthy joint, IL-1 and interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) are in balanced concentrations. In osteoarthritis, the IL-1Ra produced is insufficient to block the destructive effects of the increased IL-1. The result is inflammation, joint pain, and eventually cartilage destruction. Using the Arthrex IRAP™ ProEAS system, monocytes (a type of white blood cell) from the animal’s harvested blood bind to the glass beads in the device. The cells are stimulated over 24 hours of incubation to produce regenerative and anti-inflammatory proteins without the addition of drugs. The autologous serum produced using the Arthrex IRAP ProEAS device may be used to treat mild to moderate osteoarthritis in animals.