Osteoarthritis May Have Genetic Link

OCTOBER 01, 2005

A recent British study showed that siblings of patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee are 2 times as likely to develop the condition themselves. The results suggested that there may be a genetic link involved in the development of OA.

The findings were based on a study of 490 patients with severe knee OA, who were awaiting total replacement of the knee. Also studied were 737 siblings of these patients who were over age 40, as well as another group of 1729 patients with knee pain. X-rays were taken of the knees of both the siblings and the knee-pain patients, and both sets were studied for signs of OA.

The researchers found that, even after controlling for risk factors such as smoking and being overweight, the siblings were twice as likely to have OA as the other patients with knee pain. In addition, the study showed that brothers were more likely to be at risk than sisters. The study "adds to the growing body of evidence that there is a genetic contribution" to common forms of OA, the researchers said.