The results of a study from the RIKEN research institute in Japan may lead to newtreatments and a more comprehensive understanding of arthritis. Their findingsshowed 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 participantsfound that several mutations in the asporin gene were connected with arthritis.
The Japanese researchers said, "Asporin ?was expressed abundantly in knee andhip cartilage from individuals with osteoarthritis but was barely detectable in cartilagefrom unaffected individuals."They further explained, "In 2 independent populations ofJapanese individuals with knee or hip osteoarthritis, the mutant form of asporin wasoverrepresented, and its frequency increased with severity of disease."