Cartilage tissue turnover increases with high- compared to low-intensity resistance training in patients with knee OA

Christian S. Thudium, Amalie Engstrøm, Anne Christine Bay-Jensen, Peder Frederiksen, Nuria Jansen, Arjan De Zwart, Marike van der Leeden, Joost Dekker, Willem Lems, Leo Roorda, Willem Evert van Spil, Martin Van der Esch

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To investigate cartilage tissue turnover in response to a supervised 12-week exercise-related joint loading training program followed by a 6-month period of unsupervised training in patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA). To study the difference in cartilage tissue turnover between high- and low-resistance training.

Patients with knee OA were randomized into either high-intensity or low-intensity resistance supervised training (two sessions per week) for 3 months and unsupervised training for 6 months. Blood samples were collected before and after the supervised training period and after the follow-up period. Biomarkers huARGS, C2M, and PRO-C2, quantifying cartilage tissue turnover, were measured by ELISA. Changes in biomarker levels over time within and between groups were analyzed using linear mixed models with baseline values as covariates.

huARGS and C2M levels increased after training and at follow-up in both low- and high-intensity exercise groups. No changes were found in PRO-C2. The huARGS level in the high-intensity resistance training group increased significantly compared to the low-intensity resistance training group after resistance training (p = 0.029) and at follow-up (p = 0.003).

Cartilage tissue turnover and cartilage degradation appear to increase in response to a 3-month exercise-related joint loading training program and at 6-month follow-up, with no evident difference in type II collagen formation. Aggrecan remodeling increased more with high-intensity resistance training than with low-intensity exercise.
These exploratory biomarker results, indicating more cartilage degeneration in the high-intensity group, in combination with no clinical outcome differences of the VIDEX study, may argue against high-intensity training.
Original languageEnglish
Article number22
Number of pages8
JournalArthritis Research & Therapy
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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