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Through thorough research on horses joint’s, ARTROA has discovered biomarkers (neo-epitopes) that releases once an inflammation starts in the cartilage and underlying bone. The biomarkers are measured through a sample of synovial fluid, serum or saliva and gives an indication of how severe the joint destruction is and which of the joint structure that is involved (cartilage or bone or both).


Schematic drawing illustrating the established interdisciplinary collaboration between SLU, GU, Sahlgrenska University Hospital and Chalmers. The overall aim is to decipher the mechanisms underlying the initiation of osteoarthritis, a process that is conserved between man and horse, disentangle the progression of the disease, and elucidate new strategies for diagnosis and pharmacological intervention.


A schematic representation of the longitudinal development of OA.

Osteoarthritis disease progression extend over days to years. The disease starts in the cells in the cartilage, bone or and the synovial membrane. Cellular parameters are changed and the cells produce pain- and inflammatory substances.The biochemical degradation initiated by inflammation in the early event is not possible to determine with today’s diagnostic methods when the processes in the cartilage and bone is still reversible. When the horse becomes clinically lame the progression of the disease has advanced and becomes more and more irreversible.


The different imaging techniques available today can only evaluate the irreversible morphological changes and not the early catabolic biochemical processes. COMP fragmentation in articular cartilage is an early response to inflammation, we have discovered a neo-epitope of COMP that is released in acute and early stages of osteoarthritis. Additional the fragmentation of biglycan is an early response of the inflammation in the subchondral bone. We have discovered a neo-epitope of biglycan that is released in the early stages of bone sclerosis.

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