SNPwatch gives you the latest news about research linking various traits and conditions to individual genetic variations. These studies are exciting because they offer a glimpse into how genetics may affect our bodies and health; but in most cases, more work is needed before this research can provide information of value to individuals. For that reason it is important to remember that like all information we provide, the studies we describe in SNPwatch are for research and educational purposes only. SNPwatch is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice; you should always seek the advice of your physician or other appropriate healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding diagnosis, cure, treatment or prevention of any disease or other medical condition.
Valdes and her colleagues started small, first looking at the genomic data from 285 controls and 357 OA patients in the UK group. Then they compared the results with a UK replication cohort of 599 OA patients and 1,530 controls and a US group of 272 OA patients and 258 controls. Just as the regional auditions pare down contestants for the Hollywood phase of American Idol, the researchers used those studies to identify seven candidate SNPs, which were then analyzed in a group of 306 OA patients and 584 controls from the Netherlands.
The researchers think rs4140564 may be co-inherited with the genes PTSG2 and PLA2G4A, which are located to either side of it on chromosome 1. Both genes are part of a pathway that could play a role in the bouts of inflammation thought to trigger OA. Describing their work in the current issue of The American Journal of Human Genetics, Valdes and her colleagues say more research is needed to confirm and understand the SNP’s relationship with the condition.
In the end, all their data yielded one SNP linked to a 1.5-fold increased risk for knee OA in all five of the cohorts studied. The identified variant is the G version of rs4140564 on chromosome 1, a SNP that seems to have been association-free until now.