Osteoarthritis (OA) or degenerative joint disease (DJD) is the most common type of arthritis. OA and DJD are not autoimmune diseases and, therefore, are unlikely to share the same genes as ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis or SLE(Lupus).
In a study comparing identical to non-identical twins, an identical twin had a two-fold higher chance of developing OA of the hand or knee if the other twin had the same disease. This indicates genetics may play an important role in the development of OA or DJD.
Another study investigating the role of genetics in OA of the hand showed that sisters of women with this disease had a two-fold increased risk of developing hand OA when compared to the general population. This risk was increased by five- to seven-fold if the diseased sibling had severe disease. Certain gene mutations have been linked only to a particular site of OA (e.g., knee, hip or hand) implying that each site might have its own genetic basis.
These recent findings about the genes contributing to the many forms of arthritis are leading to new knowledge about their cause, as well as new treatment strategies to reduce pain and crippling, and possible means of disease prevention.