Are Women More Susceptible to Osteoarthritis?

Last Editorial Review: 1/11/2018

Ask the experts

What's new about the genetic tendency to osteoarthritis?

Doctor's response

It has long been known that osteoarthritis is occasionally found in multiple members of the same family and this has suggested that there may be one or more genetic (hereditary) factors involved in osteoarthritis. It has also been known that after age 55 when osteoarthritis tends to strike, it occurs more frequently in females.

A report that sheds some light on these findings is in the American Journal of Human Genetics. In the study, a special method of looking closely at the inherited gene material called a genomewide scan was used in search of osteoarthritis-susceptibility genes. The study involved 481 families each of which contained at least one sibling pair - brothers, sisters, or a brother and sister - with osteoarthritis.

The susceptibility gene for osteoarthritis was located on chromosome 11q appears and female-specific; it acts only in women!


Osteoarthritis-Susceptibility Locus on Chromosome 11q, Detected by Linkage. Kay Chapman, Zehra Mustafa, Catherine Irven, Andrew J. Carr, Kim Clipsham, Anne Smith, Jai Chitnavis, Janet S. Sinsheimer, Victoria A. Bloomfield, Mary McCartney, Olive Cox, Lon R. Cardon, Bryan Sykes, and John Loughlin. American Journal of Human Genetics, Julu, 1999, in press.