Recently published results showed running not only decreased knee intra-articular ulnar pro-inflammatory cytokine concentration, but also facilitated the movement of cartilage oligomeric matrix protein from the joint space to the serum.
“When healthy young people run for 30 minutes, some molecules that are related to inflammation of the joint decrease in concentration, which is somewhat counterintuitive,” Matthew K. Seeley, PhD, of Brigham Young University, told Healio.com/Orthopedics. “The implications are that running might be good for your joint health due to reduced knee inflammation.”
Seeley and colleagues measured cytokine concentration in synovial fluid and serum samples collected from six recreational runners, with an average age of 24 years, before and after running and control sessions in a counterbalanced order. During the running session, researchers measured ground reaction forces while participants ran for 30 minutes at a self-selected speed. In the control session, participants rested in an unloaded, seated position for 30 minutes.
Results showed no changes in serum or synovial fluid cytokine concentration in the control condition. Researchers found a decrease in granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and a trend for decreasing interleukin (IL)-15 concentration from pre- to post-run. The mean number of foot strikes during the run had a negative correlation with changes in IL-15 concentration, researchers noted.
According to results, serum cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) decreased and synovial fluid COMP increased in the control group, while serum COMP increased and synovial fluid COMP decreased in the running group. Researchers noted an inverse correlation between changes in serum COMP and synovial fluid COMP pre- to post-intervention.
However, Seeley noted the same research should be performed on a large sample of young healthy participants before similar research is performed on participants who are more likely to experience knee osteoarthritis.
“The findings are limited, and I cannot stress this enough because we had a small sample,” Seeley said. “We learned it is hard to get synovial fluid out of healthy knees and our sample was limited, as well as reducing characteristics, meaning that it was young [and] healthy. We only had one female in the sample, so you have to be careful on extrapolating the results too far.” – by Casey Tingle
Disclosure: Seeley reports no relevant financial disclosures.