Charcot Pathogenesis: A Study of In Vivo Gene Expression

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Abstract

Charcot neuroarthropathy is a rare but often difficult to manage disease in the neuropathic patient. Early signs such as unremarkable edema, marginal trauma, or minor infection can activate a cascade of bony destruction and lead to gross prominence or deformity, with dire consequences. The exact molecular mechanism is poorly understood. Current theory states that an inflammatory reaction leads to the activation of osteoclasts mediated by specific cytokines. Our study sought to test the genetic expression of certain biomarkers in diabetic patients with and without Charcot neuroarthropathy compared with patients with and without diabetes or neuropathy. A total of 30 patients participated in the study, 17 (57%) males and 13 (43%) females. Peripheral blood samples were drawn, and gene expression was measured using real-time polymerase chain reaction. The expression levels of receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand and osteoprotegerin showed no significant increase in the Charcot neuroarthropathy group compared with the healthy control group. We determined that the levels of receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand and osteoprotegerin were not significantly increased in Charcot neuroarthropathy patients compared with healthy control patients. These results demonstrate a need for further investigation into alternative molecular pathways to determine the exact mechanism of the disease process.

Level of Clinical Evidence: 3

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