Osteoarthritis is the most common disease of the joints for which the prevalence significantly increases with age. Clinical symptoms are pain, stiffness of the joints, whereas, radiographic characteristics of Osteoarthritis are degeneration of articular cartilage and remodelling of the bone. Our research aims at the identification of mechanisms that affect the integrity of the cartilage making it prone to the onset and/or the progression of OA. Especially it will be investigated which genes, gene products together with biochemical parameters may be detected either in blood or urine that may provide biomarkers for the ongoing OA process.
In order to perform the research on osteoarthritis we have been collected different (patient) populations. These populations include early onset generalized OA families, late onset OA patients and their affected siblings (GARP study) and a cohort of random subjects of the population in which we have assessed the extent of radiographic signs of OA in hand, knee, hip and spine (The Rotterdam study). In part of the latter study we have additionally collected sibling pairs. Specifically candidate genes are investigated encoding components of the extracellular matrix of the cartilage and factors involved in the inflammatory response of cartilage to degradation. Genome wide scans will be performed in order to identify new, unknown OA genes.
The research is performed in close collaboration with the Department of Reumatology (LUMC) and the department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics of the Erasmus University Medical Centrum (EUMC) and is financed by the Dutch Arthritis Association, The Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research and the industry.
For further information have a look on the Molecular Epidemiology website.