Arthritogenic alphaviruses such as Ross River virus (RRV) cause disabling joint pain. To understand what causes this pain, Suresh Mahalingam of Griffith University in Australia and his team studied how RRV affects human and mouse osteoblasts. They found that RRV concentrates in osteoblasts, where it induces the production of inflammatory cytokines. This leads to increased bone loss, which causes pain. The research appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
RRV, sindbis virus (SINV) and chikungunya virus (CHIKV) belong to a group of alphaviruses that cause pain resembling the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. This pain can last for months after the viruses themselves are gone. Usually, doctors tell patients who have contracted arthritis-inducing alphaviruses to manage their pain by taking anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen.
Recent research shows that patients with CHIKV develop bone lesions in their joints. Mahalingam and his colleagues wanted to see whether alphaviruses cause bone loss. They studied the effect of RRV on osteoblasts, cells involved in bone synthesis.
Read more at: MedicalXpress