Degeneration of cartilage and joint pain is partly attributed to chronic inflammation. Alpha-2 macroglobulin (A2M) is a large plasma protein found in abundance within serum (blood) and it is a protease inhibitor that blocks various proteases that have been associated with chronic inflammation, cartilage destruction, and cartilage loss. By blocking these catabolic proteases, high concentrations of A2M can decrease known inflammatory mediators such as IL-1 ℬ, IL-6, IL-8, TNF⍺.
High levels of inflammatory mediators associated with inducing cartilage loss such as IL-1B, IL-6, IL-8, TNF⍺ have been found in synovial fluid in osteoarthritis. Supplementation of A2M in chronically inflamed and degenerative areas of the body has been described in the medical literature as a possible method to help protect tissue cells including chondrocytes, inhibit the inflammation that can occur in degenerative joint disease, and decrease pain associated with chronic inflammation.