Explore UAB

Jasvinder Singh, Professor of MedicineDr. Jasvinder Singh, senior authorMany genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have begun the work of identifying genetic loci of osteoarthritis. This study, comprised of 484,374 participants from diverse ancestries and ethnicities, is a major step toward addressing the underrepresentation of non-European descendants in studies on OA genetics.

This mega analysis published in Nature Genetics involved the largest multi-ancestry cohort to date, which provided the needed statistical power to identify previously unknown loci in populations of both European and non-European descent. Large sample sizes, especially those of ethnically diverse patient populations, are needed to continue progress toward developing OA interventions and improving patient care.

Currently, no effective medical interventions other than symptom management are available for osteoarthritis (OA). With no effective medical interventions for disease modification available, OA often progresses to its end stage, at which time only surgical options are available. Understanding genetic influences could lead to personalized treatments that would prevent or delay the need for end-stage interventions such as total joint replacements.

The study's drug repurposing findings support physicians’ intuition regarding OA pain and anti-epileptics, anti-neoplastic agents, and anti-acne preparations. Several OA-associated loci provide etiological foundation for repurposing such drugs.

More studies, especially those with large cohorts such as this one, are needed to determine how this information can be used most effectively in the treatment of OA symptoms.

"Osteoarthritis: Multi-ancestry analysis reveals novel genetic loci associated with the disease" can be found at UAB News online. UAB researchers from multiple departments contributed to the investigation.