Osteoarthritis: genes, nature-nurture interaction and the role of leptin.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common disease affecting patients at different ages regardless of gender or ethnicity. As with many chronic diseases, OA is thought to have a multifactorial aetiology, which is not fully understood. Whereas the pathophysiological process of OA can be analysed at a cellular and molecular level, the interaction between genes and lifestyle remains an important factor in the development of this disease. The expanding awareness of different genes that may play a role in OA, together with many chemical mediators thought to be associated with the progression of the disease, will help in better management of this condition. Some of the chemical mediators recently implicated in this condition are the adipokines (leptin, adiponectin and resistin). Few but consistent studies suggest that leptin in association with obesity could be an important factor in OA aetiology. Hence, this could establish a strong and direct molecular link between patient life style (nurture) and the pathological process of OA (nature). However, neither a clear mechanism nor a direct clinical association linking leptin to OA has yet been established. In this article, we explore some of the genetic and environmental factors in OA aetiology. We discuss leptin in obesity and assess its possible association with OA aetiology. This should emphasise the important role of health professionals in treating obesity in order to control OA symptoms and possibly progression.
Int Orthop. 2013 Dec;37(12):2499-505. doi: 10.1007/s00264-013-2088-x. Epub 2013 Sep 15.