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Although much needed, a sensitive and reliable screening tool that can accurately diagnose patients with psoriatic arthritis is currently lacking. (Image: iStock)

A study from Krembil Research Institute at UHN has uncovered a set of proteins that could help doctors diagnose two different forms of arthritis more quickly.

Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory condition that affects the joints, causing pain and stiffness. Clinicians who have limited experience with the disease may find it difficult to diagnose psoriatic arthritis, which is often confused with another type of arthritis known as osteoarthritis.

In the study, Krembil researchers sought to identify new markers that could distinguish between these two forms of arthritis. To this end, they compared the levels of different proteins in blood samples from individuals with psoriatic arthritis or osteoarthritis, as well as healthy individuals.

They identified four proteins – cartilage oligomeric matrix protein, resistin, monocyte chemoattractant protein and nerve growth factor – that were significantly higher in blood samples from patients with psoriatic arthritis. By measuring the levels of these proteins, researchers were consistently able to differentiate patients with psoriatic arthritis from those with osteoarthritis.

"Early diagnosis and treatment of psoriatic arthritis is crucial as it can prevent further joint damage and improve quality of life for patients," says Dr. Dafna Gladman, senior author of the study.

"Although further testing is needed, we believe that these markers have the potential to improve the diagnosis and care of patients with osteoarthritis and psoriatic arthritis."

This work was supported by the Krembil Foundation and the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation.

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