Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Knee Pain Health Center

Font Size

Osteoarthritis Linked to Gene Mutation

Unusual DNA Pattern Seen in Cartilage Gene of Osteoarthritis Patients
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

March 27, 2007 -- Variations in a cartilage gene may increase the odds of developing osteoarthritis, a Japanese study shows.

In osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, the cartilage that covers and cushions joints wears down. The gene in question helps develop cartilage, say the researchers.

They included Shiro Ikegawa, MD, PhD, head of the Laboratory for Bone and Joint Diseases at Tokyo's RIKEN, a science and technology research institute.

When Ikegawa and colleagues screened the GDF5 gene in 24 people with hip osteoarthritis, several DNA variations in the GDF5 gene stood out.

Based on their findings, the researchers screened the GDF5 gene in 239 Japanese hip osteoarthritis patients, 718 Japanese knee osteoarthritis patients, and more than 1,100 Japanese people without osteoarthritis.

Variations in the GDF5 gene were more common in the osteoarthritis patients than in the people without osteoarthritis.

The same was true when the researchers looked at a group of 313 Chinese patients with knee osteoarthritis and 485 Chinese people without osteoarthritis.

The findings don't mean GDF5 is the only gene that affects osteoarthritis.

But the study "will open a new window" in osteoarthritis research and may eventually lead to new treatments, the researchers write in Nature Genetics.

Today on WebMD

knee exercise
If you're living with knee pain, try these.
knee in brace
Everything you wanted to know about it.
nurse helping woman on crutches
When it comes to knee pain.
man with knee pain
Read this first.
man biting a bullet
6 Ways To Ruin Your Knees
Keep Joints Healthy
Knee exercises