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Editorial

What do measurements of molecular biomarkers in different body fluids really tell us?

A Robin Poole

Author Affiliations

Department of Surgery, 687 Pine Avenue West, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1A1, Canada

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2011, 13:110  doi:10.1186/ar3276

Published: 27 April 2011

Abstract

Molecular or biochemical biomarkers of joint metabolism offer promise in helping us understand joint pathology, its detection and treatment. But they have often been studied alone and in only one body fluid. Although the synovial joint is usually the focus of most arthritis pathology, it is often difficult, for a variety of reasons, to obtain synovial fluid that should best reflect changes in biomarkers related to pathology. It is therefore very important to see whether analyses of more readily obtainable sera and urine also reflect changes in synovial fluid. Catterall and colleagues, in a paper in Arthritis Research & Therapy that examines very early biomarker changes following joint injury, provide us with some insights into these important questions. As the study was very small and examined very early changes following joint injury, prior to onset of any recognisable pathology, we look forward to future larger biomarker studies of this kind in patients with clinically defined arthritic changes to which we can relate biomarker data.