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1.  Large-Scale Analysis of Association Between GDF5 and FRZB Variants and Osteoarthritis of the Hip, Knee, and Hand 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2009;60(6):1710-1721.
GDF5 and FRZB have been proposed as genetic loci conferring susceptibility to osteoarthritis (OA); however, the results of several studies investigating the association of OA with the rs143383 polymorphism of the GDF5 gene or the rs7775 and rs288326 polymorphisms of the FRZB gene have been conflicting or inconclusive. To examine these associations, we performed a large-scale meta-analysis of individual-level data.
Fourteen teams contributed data on polymorphisms and knee, hip, and hand OA. For rs143383, the total number of cases and controls, respectively, was 5,789 and 7,850 for hip OA, 5,085 and 8,135 for knee OA, and 4,040 and 4,792 for hand OA. For rs7775, the respective sample sizes were 4,352 and 10,843 for hip OA, 3,545 and 6,085 for knee OA, and 4,010 and 5,151 for hand OA, and for rs288326, they were 4,346 and 8,034 for hip OA, 3,595 and 6,106 for knee OA, and 3,982 and 5,152 for hand OA. For each individual study, sex-specific odds ratios (ORs) were calculated for each OA phenotype that had been investigated. The ORs for each phenotype were synthesized using both fixed-effects and random-effects models for allele-based effects, and also for haplotype effects for FRZB.
A significant random-effects summary OR for knee OA was demonstrated for rs143383 (1.15 [95% confidence interval 1.09–1.22]) (P = 9.4 × 10−7), with no significant between-study heterogeneity. Estimates of effect sizes for hip and hand OA were similar, but a large between-study heterogeneity was observed, and statistical significance was borderline (for OA of the hip [P = 0.016]) or absent (for OA of the hand [P = 0.19]). Analyses for FRZB polymorphisms and haplotypes did not reveal any statistically significant signals, except for a borderline association of rs288326 with hip OA (P = 0.019).
Evidence of an association between the GDF5 rs143383 polymorphism and OA is substantially strong, but the genetic effects are consistent across different populations only for knee OA. Findings of this collaborative analysis do not support the notion that FRZB rs7775 or rs288326 has any sizable genetic effect on OA phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC4412885  PMID: 19479880
2.  Superoxide dismutase down regulation in osteoarthritis progression and end-stage disease 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2010;69(8):1502-1510.
Oxidative stress is proposed as an important factor in osteoarthritis (OA). We therefore investigated the expression of the three superoxide dismutase (SOD) antioxidant enzymes in OA.
SOD expression was determined by real-time polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry using human femoral head cartilage. SOD2 expression in Dunkin Hartley guinea pig knee articular cartilage was determined by immunohistochemistry. The DNA methylation status of the SOD2 promoter was determined using bisulfite sequencing. RNA interference was used to determine the consequence of SOD2 depletion on the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) using MitoSOX™ and collagenases, matrix metalloproteinase 1 (MMP-1) and MMP-13, gene expression.
All three SOD were abundantly expressed in human cartilage but were markedly down-regulated in end-stage OA cartilage, especially SOD2. In the Dunkin Hartley guinea pig spontaneous OA model SOD2 expression was decreased in the medial tibial chondyle cartilage prior to, and following, the development of OA-like lesions. The SOD2 promoter had significant DNA methylation alterations in OA cartilage. Depletion of SOD2 in chondrocytes gave an increase in ROS but a decrease in collagenase expression.
This is the first comprehensive expression profile of all SOD genes in cartilage and importantly, using an animal model, we show that a reduction in SOD2 is associated with the earliest stages of OA. We found that a decrease in SOD2 associates with an increase in ROS and but a reduction of collagenase gene expression, demonstrating the complexities of ROS function.
PMCID: PMC3789136  PMID: 20511611
Osteoarthritis; chondrocytes; superoxide dismutase; gene expression
3.  Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies confirms a susceptibility locus for knee osteoarthritis on chromosome 7q22 
Evangelou, Evangelos | Valdes, Ana M. | Kerkhof, Hanneke J.M | Styrkarsdottir, Unnur | Zhu, YanYan | Meulenbelt, Ingrid | Lories, Rik J. | Karassa, Fotini B. | Tylzanowski, Przemko | Bos, Steffan D. | Akune, Toru | Arden, Nigel K. | Carr, Andrew | Chapman, Kay | Cupples, L. Adrienne | Dai, Jin | Deloukas, Panos | Doherty, Michael | Doherty, Sally | Engstrom, Gunnar | Gonzalez, Antonio | Halldorsson, Bjarni V. | Hammond, Christina L. | Hart, Deborah J. | Helgadottir, Hafdis | Hofman, Albert | Ikegawa, Shiro | Ingvarsson, Thorvaldur | Jiang, Qing | Jonsson, Helgi | Kaprio, Jaakko | Kawaguchi, Hiroshi | Kisand, Kalle | Kloppenburg, Margreet | Kujala, Urho M. | Lohmander, L. Stefan | Loughlin, John | Luyten, Frank P. | Mabuchi, Akihiko | McCaskie, Andrew | Nakajima, Masahiro | Nilsson, Peter M. | Nishida, Nao | Ollier, William E.R. | Panoutsopoulou, Kalliope | van de Putte, Tom | Ralston, Stuart H. | Rivadeneira, Fernado | Saarela, Janna | Schulte-Merker, Stefan | Slagboom, P. Eline | Sudo, Akihiro | Tamm, Agu | Tamm, Ann | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Tsezou, Aspasia | Wallis, Gillian A. | Wilkinson, J. Mark | Yoshimura, Noriko | Zeggini, Eleftheria | Zhai, Guangju | Zhang, Feng | Jonsdottir, Ingileif | Uitterlinden, Andre G. | Felson, David T | van Meurs, Joyce B. | Stefansson, Kari | Ioannidis, John P.A. | Spector, Timothy D.
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2010;70(2):349-355.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most prevalent form of arthritis and accounts for substantial morbidity and disability, particularly in the elderly. It is characterized by changes in joint structure including degeneration of the articular cartilage and its etiology is multifactorial with a strong postulated genetic component. We performed a meta-analysis of four genome-wide association (GWA) studies of 2,371 knee OA cases and 35,909 controls in Caucasian populations. Replication of the top hits was attempted with data from additional ten replication datasets. With a cumulative sample size of 6,709 cases and 44,439 controls, we identified one genome-wide significant locus on chromosome 7q22 for knee OA (rs4730250, p-value=9.2×10−9), thereby confirming its role as a susceptibility locus for OA. The associated signal is located within a large (500kb) linkage disequilibrium (LD) block that contains six genes; PRKAR2B (protein kinase, cAMP-dependent, regulatory, type II, beta), HPB1 (HMG-box transcription factor 1), COG5 (component of oligomeric golgi complex 5), GPR22 (G protein-coupled receptor 22), DUS4L (dihydrouridine synthase 4-like), and BCAP29 (the B-cell receptor-associated protein 29). Gene expression analyses of the (six) genes in primary cells derived from different joint tissues confirmed expression of all the genes in the joint environment.
PMCID: PMC3615180  PMID: 21068099
4.  The effect of genome-wide association scan quality control on imputation outcome for common variants 
Imputation is an extremely valuable tool in conducting and synthesising genome-wide association studies (GWASs). Directly typed SNP quality control (QC) is thought to affect imputation quality. It is, therefore, common practise to use quality-controlled (QCed) data as an input for imputing genotypes. This study aims to determine the effect of commonly applied QC steps on imputation outcomes. We performed several iterations of imputing SNPs across chromosome 22 in a dataset consisting of 3177 samples with Illumina 610k (Illumina, San Diego, CA, USA) GWAS data, applying different QC steps each time. The imputed genotypes were compared with the directly typed genotypes. In addition, we investigated the correlation between alternatively QCed data. We also applied a series of post-imputation QC steps balancing elimination of poorly imputed SNPs and information loss. We found that the difference between the unQCed data and the fully QCed data on imputation outcome was minimal. Our study shows that imputation of common variants is generally very accurate and robust to GWAS QC, which is not a major factor affecting imputation outcome. A minority of common-frequency SNPs with particular properties cannot be accurately imputed regardless of QC stringency. These findings may not generalise to the imputation of low frequency and rare variants.
PMCID: PMC3083623  PMID: 21267008
genome-wide association study; imputation; quality control; single nucleotide polymorphism
5.  Lineage tracing using matrilin-1 gene expression reveals that articular chondrocytes exist as the joint interzone forms 
Developmental biology  2007;304(2):825-833.
We have developed a mouse in which the Cre recombinase gene has been targeted to exon 1 of the matrilin-1 gene (Matn1) to investigate the origins of articular chondrocytes and the development of the knee joint. Analysis of joints from offspring of Matn1-Cre/R26R crosses demonstrates that articular chondrocytes are derived from cells that have never expressed matrilin-1, whereas the remainder of the chondrocytes in the cartilage anlagen express matrilin-1. A band of chondrocytes adjacent to the developing interzone in the E13.5 day knee joint becomes apparent because these chondrocytes do not turn on expression of matrilin-1 along with all the other chondrocytes of the anlagen. Articular chondrocytes therefore appear to arise directly from a subpopulation of early chondrocytes that do not activate matrilin-1 expression rather than by redifferentiation from the flattened cells of the interzone. In addition, lineage tracing using both Matn1-Cre/R26R and Col2a1-Cre/R26R lines indicate that non-cartilaginous structures in the knee such as cruciate ligament, synovium and some blood vessels are formed by cells derived from the early chondrocytes of the anlagen.
PMCID: PMC2795868  PMID: 17313942
articular chondrocytes; matrilin-1; collagen II; linage tracing; cre recombinase; joint development; knee development
6.  Col2a1 lineage tracing reveals that the meniscus of the knee joint has a complex cellular origin 
Journal of anatomy  2008;213(5):531-538.
The knee joint consists of multiple interacting tissues that are prone to injury- and disease-related degeneration. Although much is known about the structure and function of the knee’s constituent tissues, relatively little is known about their cellular origin and the mechanisms governing their segregation. To investigate the origin and segregation of knee tissues in vivo we performed lineage tracing using a Col2a1-Cre/R26R mouse model system and compared the data obtained with actual Col2a1 expression. These studies demonstrated that at E13.5 the interzone at the presumptive joint site forms when cells within the Col2a1-expressing anlagen cease expression of Col2a1 and not through cellular invasion into the anlagen. Later in development these interzone cells form the cruciate ligament and inner medial meniscus of the knee. At E14.5, after interzone formation, cells that had never expressed Col2a1 appeared in the joint and formed the lateral meniscus. Furthermore, cells with a Col2a1-positive expression history combined with the negative cells to form the medial meniscus. The invading cells started to express Col2a1 1 week after birth, resulting in all cells within the meniscus synthesizing collagen II. These findings support a model of knee development in which cells present in the original anlagen combine with invading cells in the formation of this complex joint.
PMCID: PMC2667547  PMID: 19014360
Col2a1; joint formation; knee; lineage tracing; meniscus
7.  Coordinated expression of matrix Gla protein is required during endochondral ossification for chondrocyte survival 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2001;154(3):659-666.
Matrix Gla protein (MGP) is a 14-kD extracellular matrix protein of the mineral-binding Gla protein family. Studies of MGP-deficient mice suggest that MGP is an inhibitor of extracellular matrix calcification in arteries and the epiphyseal growth plate. In the mammalian growth plate, MGP is expressed by proliferative and late hypertrophic chondrocytes, but not by the intervening chondrocytes. To investigate the functional significance of this biphasic expression pattern, we used the ATDC5 mouse chondrogenic cell line. We found that after induction of the cell line with insulin, the differentiating chondrocytes express MGP in a stage-specific biphasic manner as in vivo. Treatment of the ATDC5 cultures with MGP antiserum during the proliferative phase leads to their apoptosis before maturation, whereas treatment during the hypertrophic phase has no effect on chondrocyte viability or mineralization. After stable transfection of ATDC5 cells with inducible sense or antisense MGP cDNA constructs, we found that overexpression of MGP in maturing chondrocytes and underexpression of MGP in proliferative and hypertrophic chondrocytes induced apoptosis. However, overexpression of MGP during the hypertrophic phase has no effect on chondrocyte viability, but it does reduce mineralization. This work suggests that coordinated levels of MGP are required for chondrocyte differentiation and matrix mineralization.
PMCID: PMC2196415  PMID: 11489922
endochondral ossification; matrix Gla protein; ATDC5; chondrocytes; apoptosis
8.  No evidence of an association between mitochondrial DNA variants and osteoarthritis in 7393 cases and 5122 controls 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2012;72(1):136-139.
Osteoarthritis (OA) has a complex aetiology with a strong genetic component. Genome-wide association studies implicate several nuclear genes in the aetiology, but a major component of the heritability has yet to be defined at the molecular level. Initial studies implicate maternally inherited variants of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in subgroups of patients with OA based on gender and specific joint involvement, but these findings have not been replicated.
The authors studied 138 maternally inherited mtDNA variants genotyped in a two cohort genetic association study across a total of 7393 OA cases from the arcOGEN consortium and 5122 controls genotyped in the Wellcome Trust Case Control consortium 2 study.
Following data quality control we examined 48 mtDNA variants that were common in cohort 1 and cohort 2, and found no association with OA. None of the phenotypic subgroups previously associated with mtDNA haplogroups were associated in this study.
We were not able to replicate previously published findings in the largest mtDNA association study to date. The evidence linking OA to mtDNA is not compelling at present.
PMCID: PMC3551219  PMID: 22984172
Gene Polymorphism; Osteoarthritis; Pharmacogenetics
9.  Evaluation of the genetic overlap between osteoarthritis with body mass index and height using genome-wide association scan data 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2012;72(6):935-941.
Obesity as measured by body mass index (BMI) is one of the major risk factors for osteoarthritis. In addition, genetic overlap has been reported between osteoarthritis and normal adult height variation. We investigated whether this relationship is due to a shared genetic aetiology on a genome-wide scale.
We compared genetic association summary statistics (effect size, p value) for BMI and height from the GIANT consortium genome-wide association study (GWAS) with genetic association summary statistics from the arcOGEN consortium osteoarthritis GWAS. Significance was evaluated by permutation. Replication of osteoarthritis association of the highlighted signals was investigated in an independent dataset. Phenotypic information of height and BMI was accounted for in a separate analysis using osteoarthritis-free controls.
We found significant overlap between osteoarthritis and height (p=3.3×10−5 for signals with p≤0.05) when the GIANT and arcOGEN GWAS were compared. For signals with p≤0.001 we found 17 shared signals between osteoarthritis and height and four between osteoarthritis and BMI. However, only one of the height or BMI signals that had shown evidence of association with osteoarthritis in the arcOGEN GWAS was also associated with osteoarthritis in the independent dataset: rs12149832, within the FTO gene (combined p=2.3×10−5). As expected, this signal was attenuated when we adjusted for BMI.
We found a significant excess of shared signals between both osteoarthritis and height and osteoarthritis and BMI, suggestive of a common genetic aetiology. However, only one signal showed association with osteoarthritis when followed up in a new dataset.
PMCID: PMC3664369  PMID: 22956599
Osteoarthritis; Gene Polymorphism; Epidemiology
10.  A meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies identifies novel variants associated with osteoarthritis of the hip 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2013;73(12):2130-2136.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis with a clear genetic component. To identify novel loci associated with hip OA we performed a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) on European subjects.
We performed a two-stage meta-analysis on more than 78 000 participants. In stage 1, we synthesised data from eight GWAS whereas data from 10 centres were used for ‘in silico’ or ‘de novo’ replication. Besides the main analysis, a stratified by sex analysis was performed to detect possible sex-specific signals. Meta-analysis was performed using inverse-variance fixed effects models. A random effects approach was also used.
We accumulated 11 277 cases of radiographic and symptomatic hip OA. We prioritised eight single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) for follow-up in the discovery stage (4349 OA cases); five from the combined analysis, two male specific and one female specific. One locus, at 20q13, represented by rs6094710 (minor allele frequency (MAF) 4%) near the NCOA3 (nuclear receptor coactivator 3) gene, reached genome-wide significance level with p=7.9×10−9 and OR=1.28 (95% CI 1.18 to 1.39) in the combined analysis of discovery (p=5.6×10−8) and follow-up studies (p=7.3×10−4). We showed that this gene is expressed in articular cartilage and its expression was significantly reduced in OA-affected cartilage. Moreover, two loci remained suggestive associated; rs5009270 at 7q31 (MAF 30%, p=9.9×10−7, OR=1.10) and rs3757837 at 7p13 (MAF 6%, p=2.2×10−6, OR=1.27 in male specific analysis).
Novel genetic loci for hip OA were found in this meta-analysis of GWAS.
PMCID: PMC4251181  PMID: 23989986
Epidemiology; Gene Polymorphism; Osteoarthritis

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