The results of a study from the RIKEN research institute in Japan may lead to new treatments and a more comprehensive understanding of arthritis. Their findings showed that a mutated gene, called asporin, which affects the breakdown of cartilage, may also be strongly connected with a tendency for arthritis. A study of 1200 participants found that several mutations in the asporin gene were connected with arthritis.
The Japanese researchers said, "Asporin ?was expressed abundantly in knee and hip cartilage from individuals with osteoarthritis but was barely detectable in cartilage from unaffected individuals."They further explained, "In 2 independent populations of Japanese individuals with knee or hip osteoarthritis, the mutant form of asporin was overrepresented, and its frequency increased with severity of disease."