Research Alert

A new herbal extract blend, Karallief ® Easy Climb ® (KEC) showed promising results in addressing Osteoarthritis (OA) by helping rebuild the joint connective tissue. The product goes beyond just addressing the symptoms of OA – reducing pain and inflammation.

The medical care of OA is challenging due to OA’s high number of comorbidities—weight, age, injury, etc.— and its status as one of the most frequent causes of physical disability in developed states. OA commonly affects many joints in the human body, including the knee joints. The knee joint is made up of two parts - the patella-femoral (PF) and tibiofemoral (TF) compartment. Animal models for OA studies are well-established and serve as an important tool for understanding the impact of OA in humans. To investigate the impacts of OA in the knee joint, researchers carried out an animal study using an intra-articular Monosodium Iodoacetate (MIA) injection to allow for observation of histopathological changes in synovial membranes and joint capsules similar to what occurs in human OA. This study observed MIA-induced histopathological changes in the knee joint of Wistar Rats in vivo and evaluated the anti-OA potential of KEC.

The study found that supplementation with KEC reduced the incidence of the MIA-induced OA condition. The supplement’s anti-OA activity was confirmed through the measurement of various biomarker levels. Glycosaminoglycan (GAG) is an important constituent of the joint connective tissue. Impaired cartilage metabolism leads to depolymerization, which releases Glycosaminoglycan (GAG); GAG levels in the blood can be used as an indicator of cartilage degradation at the joint. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is one of the most basic GAGs and a serum biomarker for knee OA. Synoviocytes produce HA and is a key component of articular cartilage; an increased systemic level could be an early indicator of joint cartilage structural damage. HA is present throughout the body. It plays a crucial role in many functions, including lubricating the joints, promoting the growth of cartilage and bone and reducing inflammation and pain caused by injury or tissue degradation. The KEC supplemented group showed a significant reduction in HA levels in the bloodstream. This could indicate that KEC may have helped significantly reduce joint degradation and may also help in supporting the rebuilding of the joint tissue. Hence more HA is available at the joints (especially in the synovial fluid). Synovial fluid helps to keep the joints lubricated by decreasing the friction between the articular cartilages. HA provides the synovial fluid with the adequate viscosity it needs to effectively carry out its joint lubrication role effectively. Thus, the KEC group saw an increase in synovial fluid viscosity, which improves joint lubrication. This could be one explanation for the mechanism of action of KEC in helping build strong and more mobile joints - by increasing the synovial fluid viscosity and, consequently, joint lubrication. 

Supplementation with KEC significantly increased the collagen levels. Collagen is found in many different parts of the body, such as the bones, skin, tendons, and muscles. Collagen provides strength and support to the extracellular matrix in the joints. MIA treatment has lowered collagen levels, and supplementation with KEC has significantly elevated the collagen levels towards normal. This evidence could further support the argument that KEC may help to regenerate the joint tissues since the increased collagen helps provide more strength and support to the joint tissue. 

Histopathological observations also confirmed that supplementation with KEC inhibited or reversed MIA-induced joint cartilage degeneration and subchondral bone alterations that lead to osteoarthritis in the study subjects. The study further showed that KEC may go beyond the symptoms of OA— pain and inflammation— to address the root cause of OA—degenerated joints— by helping the body to rebuild the joint connective tissues. 


Journal Link: International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research