The level of a substance called vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) is a strong and independent predictor of the risk of future joint replacement surgery resulting from severe osteoarthritis of the hip and knee, report researchers from Germany, Austria, and Italy (Schett G et al. Arthritis Rheum. 2009;60:2381-2389). VCAM-1 is a cell surface molecule that plays a role in promoting leukocyte adhesion and homing to sites of inflammation.
The prospective cohort study involved more than 900 randomly selected residents of Bruneck, Italy, in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. Demographic characteristics, lifestyle factors, and biochemical variables, including the level of VCAM-1 in the blood, were assessed at a baseline visit in 1990. Over the next 15 years, 60 participants had hip or knee joint replacement surgery.