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1.  Recommendations for standardization and phenotype definitions in genetic studies of osteoarthritis: the TREAT-OA consortium 
To address the need for standardization of osteoarthritis (OA) phenotypes by examining the effect of heterogeneity among symptomatic (SOA) and radiographic osteoarthritis (ROA) phenotypes.
Descriptions of OA phenotypes of the 28 studies involved in the TREAT-OA consortium were collected. To investigate whether different OA definitions result in different association results, we created hip OA definitions used within the consortium in the Rotterdam Study-I and tested the association of hip OA with gender, age and BMI using one-way ANOVA. For radiographic OA, we standardized the hip, knee and hand ROA definitions and calculated prevalence's of ROA before and after standardization in 9 cohort studies. This procedure could only be performed in cohort studies and standardization of SOA definitions was not feasible at this moment.
In this consortium, all studies with symptomatic OA phenotypes (knee, hip and hand) used a different definition and/or assessment of OA status. For knee, hip and hand radiographic OA 5, 4 and 7 different definitions were used, respectively. Different hip OA definitions do lead to different association results. For example, we showed in the Rotterdam Study-I that hip OA defined as “at least definite JSN and one definite osteophyte” was not associated with gender (p=0.22), but defined as “at least one definite osteophyte” was significantly associated with gender (p=3×10−9). Therefore, a standardization process was undertaken for radiographic OA definitions. Before standardization a wide range of ROA prevalence's was observed in the 9 cohorts studied. After standardization the range in prevalence of knee and hip ROA was small. Standardization of SOA phenotypes was not possible due to the case-control design of the studies.
Phenotype definitions influence the prevalence of OA and association with clinical variables. ROA phenotypes within the TREAT-OA consortium were standardized to reduce heterogeneity and improve power in future genetics studies.
PMCID: PMC3236091  PMID: 21059398
2.  Allelic variants of IL1R1 gene associate with severe hand osteoarthritis 
BMC Medical Genetics  2010;11:50.
In search for genes predisposing to osteoarthritis (OA), several genome wide scans have provided evidence for linkage on 2q. In this study we targeted a 470 kb region on 2q11.2 presenting the locus with most evidence for linkage to severe OA of distal interphalangeal joints (DIP) in our genome wide scan families.
We genotyped 32 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in this 470 kb region comprising six genes belonging to the interleukin 1 superfamily and monitored for association with individual SNPs and SNP haplotypes among severe familial hand OA cases (material extended from our previous linkage study; n = 134), unrelated end-stage bilateral primary knee OA cases (n = 113), and population based controls (n = 436).
Four SNPs in the IL1R1 gene, mapping to a 125 kb LD block, provided evidence for association with hand OA in family-based and case-control analysis, the strongest association being with SNP rs2287047 (p-value = 0.0009).
This study demonstrates an association between severe hand OA and IL1R1 gene. This gene represents a highly relevant biological candidate since it encodes protein that is a known modulator of inflammatory processes associated with joint destruction and resides within a locus providing consistent evidence for linkage to hand OA. As the observed association did not fully explain the linkage obtained in the previous study, it is plausible that also other variants in this genome region predispose to hand OA.
PMCID: PMC2859817  PMID: 20353565
3.  Knee arthroscopy and exercise versus exercise only for chronic patellofemoral pain syndrome: a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Medicine  2007;5:38.
Arthroscopy is often used to treat patients with chronic patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS). As there is a lack of evidence, we conducted a randomized controlled trial to study the efficacy of arthroscopy in patients with chronic PFPS.
A total of 56 patients with chronic PFPS were randomized into two treatment groups: an arthroscopy group (N = 28), treated with knee arthroscopy and an 8-week home exercise program, and a control group (N = 28), treated with the 8-week home exercise program only. The arthroscopy included finding-specific surgical procedures according to current recommendations. The primary outcome was the Kujala score on patellofemoral pain and function at 9 months following randomization. Secondary outcomes were visual analog scales (VASs) to assess activity-related symptoms. We also estimated the direct healthcare costs.
Both groups showed marked improvement during the follow-up. The mean improvement in the Kujala score was 12.9 (95% confidence interval (CI) 8.2–17.6) in the arthroscopy group and 11.4 (95% CI 6.9–15.8) in the control group. However, there was no difference between the groups in mean improvement in the Kujala score (group difference 1.1 (95% CI -7.4 - 5.2)) or in any of the VAS scores. Total direct healthcare costs in the arthroscopy group were estimated to exceed on average those of the control group by €901 per patient (p < 0.001).
In this controlled trial involving patients with chronic PFPS, the outcome when arthroscopy was used in addition to a home exercise program was no better than when the home exercise program was used alone.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN 41800323
PMCID: PMC2249589  PMID: 18078506

Results 1-3 (3)