Washington: By testing the effects of lithium chloride on cartilages or connecting tissues, a team of scientists has found that it slowed the degradation associated with osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis results in degradation of cartilages in joints leading to pain and immobility.
The study used bovine cartilage samples exposed to inflammatory molecules to follow the effects of arthritis and then treated the tissue with lithium chloride.
"Osteoarthritis has a devastating impact on the lives of many people in the UK and it is vital that we look for novel ways to prevent it," said co-author Martin Knight, a professor from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).
This commonly-used drug could be used to prevent the degradation and loss of mechanical integrity of cartilages in patients with arthritis.
The researchers also found that long-term dietary use of lithium did not cause arthritis.
"While we`re still at an early stage in researching lithium`s effects on cartilage and its suitability as a treatment, the possibility that an already widely available pharmaceutical could slow its progress is a significant step forward," Knight said.