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HKUMed discovered genetic risk factors for spine OA

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Peeyush Ghalot
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(Image Courtesy: - The Arthritis Connection)

As part of the 'Genetics of Osteoarthritis (GO)' consortium's world-largest study of over 800,000 people, scientists from The University of Hong Kong (HKUMedLKSFaculty )'s of Medicine identified genetic risk factors – Variants related to the SOX5 and CHST3 genes, which are important regulators of intervertebral disc development, have been linked to spine osteoarthritis. In the elderly, joint degeneration, or OA, is a common source of pain and impairment, because the reasons are complicated and the mechanisms are unknown, there is no cure for OA. As a result, determining the disease's risk factors is critical and urgent in order to lead the development of novel treatments that will assist patients. Multiple joints, including the knee, hip, hand, and spine, are affected by osteoarthritis. This landmark study looked at 826,690 people from nine different groups, including Hong Kong Chinese from Southern China, Japanese, and Europeans1, and found 100 new genetic risk variations for OA, as well as novel therapeutic targets.

The SOX5 gene, which is known to be important for the development of intervertebral discs, has been linked to spine OA by the HKUMed team. The study also discovered that OA in the spine was linked to OA in other joints such as the hip, knee, finger, and thumb. It was also discovered that the CHST3 gene was one of the top three genes most strongly connected to hip OA. The Hong Kong team previously discovered CHST3 to be linked to intervertebral disc degeneration, which causes back pain. When researchers are ready to share data from other nations, genetics can disclose biological mechanisms and discover new therapy targets for complicated human diseases,' says the report. These data point to a substantial relationship between intervertebral disc degeneration, OA, and back discomfort. The study also discovered that body weight, not fat mass, was genetically linked to OA, and that genetic influences on weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing joints differed. OA has such a crippling effect on our everyday lives. Based on our findings, I am confident that a medication can be developed to alleviate some of the back discomfort associated with OA, which will benefit millions of people. OA is a complicated illness with numerous contributing causes. This collaborative effort exemplifies the value and power of international sharing of large-scale data from cohort studies, as well as thinking outside the box when it comes to extracting additional data, in order to achieve far-reaching goals for the development of treatments that will benefit patients.

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