Researchers from the University of Newcastle have discovered eight pieces of genetic code of human DNA which are accountable for osteoarthritis, the crippling incurable condition affecting millions of people all over the world. These sections of DNA contain genes liable for the production of cartilage, the tissue between bones that is damaged due to osteoarthritis.
It is already known that osteoarthritis runs in families. But thus far they researchers knew of only three genetic regions which increased the risk of the condition. Now they have identified a further eight. The report of Arthritis Care, stated osteoarthritis is extremely difficult to diagnose, with patients waiting an average of almost three years to be diagnosed and referred for treatment.
In latest study researchers compared the DNA of seventy-four hundred osteoarthritis patients with that of eleven thousand healthy participants. This makes it possible to identify the most promising sections of the genetic code. The study findings validated the three earlier reported genetic variations and found a further eight associated with osteoarthritis.
More study is required needed to identify the actual DNA changes within the genetic sections to determine exactly how these variations lead to osteoarthritis. The one with the strongest effect was situated in the section of the GNL3 gene which generates a protein and having a significant role in cell maintenance.
Three others were in DNA sections occupied in the regulation of cartilage, bone development and body weight. Lead researcher Prof John Loughlin, they have identified eight regions of human genomes that increase the risk of the disease. They would extremely like to use the information gathered to enable patients’ cells to be modified to ensure they make better cartilage. But it’s a long way off.
Prof Alan Silman, medical director of Arthritis Research UK, stated until they understand the cause of this complex disease, they cannot hope to find a cure. This is a major breakthrough in their understanding of osteoarthritis, which they hope will help them to unlock the genetic basis of the disease. The study was published in The Lancet.