Genetic Links to Bone Disease
Posted July 11, 2012
SCIENTISTS at Newcastle University believe they may have made a
major breakthrough in understanding the genetic risk factors that
cause the condition osteoarthritis.
Eight new so-called genetic regions have been linked to the
development of the bone disease. Previously only three had been
Several of the genetic regions encompass genes that are known to
regulate how joints are made and then maintained.
The new findings, published in The Lancet, have resulted from a
[pounds]2.2m project, funded by Arthritis Research UK, which
compared the genetic differences of 7,400 patients with severe
osteoarthritis with 11,000 healthy volunteers.
John Loughlin, professor of musculoskeletal research at Newcastle
"We know that osteoarthritis runs in families and that this is
due to the genes that people pass on, rather than their shared
"In this study we were able to say with a high degree of
confidence which genetic regions are the major risk factors for
developing osteoarthritis - the first time that this has been
possible for this common yet complex disease."
Prof Loughlin said that they were not yet able to use their
discoveries as a tool to predict who was more or less likely to
develop the disease, or to predict the degree of osteoarthritis
severity, based on the genes they have inherited.
However he added: "What we are able to do is to use our genetic
discoveries to identify key biological pathways that can now be
exploited to develop new treatments."
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