Researchers to pinpoint genetic causes of osteoarthritis news
26 February 2013

Newcastle University scientists are to carry out further research into the genetic origins of osteoarthrtis, following a major breakthrough last year.

A research group led by John Loughlin, professor of musculoskeletal research and research fellow Dr Louise Reynard will carry out a detailed study of the most significant genetic regions to emerge from the world's biggest ever-genome wide study into osteoarthritis, funded by Arthritis Research UK.

The arcOGEN study, led by Professor Loughlin, which was published in The Lancet  last year, discovered eight new genetic regions associated with the cause of osteoarthritis a major breakthrough in determining the genetic basis of osteoarthritis.

The research group will now carry out a further more detailed investigation in several of these highly significant genetic regions.

In one of a number of related strands of research, they will investigate which genes in the region are active in the joints and are likely to be the culprits harbouring the genetic changes that influence the risk of osteoarthritis. They will look for unusual activity in joint tissues, recording subtle effects and DNA changes within the genes.

''We hope that not only will these new studies help to find out what changes influence osteoarthritis risk, but that it will also reveal DNA targets for future therapies,'' explained Professor Loughlin.

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Researchers to pinpoint genetic causes of osteoarthritis