BACKGROUND: This study aimed the feasibility to assess longitudinal changes in biomarkers of cartilage turnover and to determine their relationship with patient-rated outcomes over 2 years in volleyball athletes.
METHODS: Thirty-seven athletes were studied: 18 adolescents (age 15.9 ± 0.64 years) in a 2-year intensive volleyball training program and 19 adult recreational volleyball players (age 46.5 ± 4.9 years). Blood and serum samples were taken at baseline (BL) and 2-year follow-up (FU). Subjects completed the International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) Subjective Knee Form and the Short-Form 36 (SF-36) at BL.
RESULTS: Thirteen adolescents (72%) had open growth plates at BL (BL open adolescents), the rest had closed growth plates at BL (BL closed adolescents), and all but one adolescent had closed growth plates at FU as assessed by MRI. BL open and closed adolescents had greater levels of the cartilage degradation-based biomarkers 45 mer collagenase peptide of type II collagen (C2C-HUSA) and C-telopeptide of type II collagen (CTX-II) than adults. BL open adolescents showed decreases in C2CHUSA, collagen synthesis marker C-propeptide of type II procollagen (CPII), and CTXII, and adults showed increases in cartilage intermediate layer protein 2 (CILP-2) and C2C-HUSA. In adolescents, IKDC scores were correlated with CPII changes. In adults, SF-36 Physical Component Scores were correlated with cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) changes.
CONCLUSION: Significant differences in biomarker levels over time show the feasibility to assess their changes. Greater levels of C2C-HUSA and CTX-II in adolescents than in adults may reflect increased cartilage turnover in response to higher joint loading. CPII and COMP may be more reflective of subjective patient outcomes. These biomarkers may thus be useful in assessing mechanical loading-induced cartilage changes, their associated symptoms, and Osteoarthritis risk in athletes.
- Journal Article