Scientists Identify New Genetic Bone Disorder

Family's inherited condition strips bone of its protective cartilage

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FRIDAY, Sept. 30, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. researchers have found evidence of a new hereditary joint disorder that causes cartilage to "bubble" and peel away from the bone.

The clinical and laboratory findings, published in the October issue of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, were discovered in a family where the father and all three of his children suffer from the disorder.

The father began to complain of knee and hip pain when he was 10 years old. By the time he was in his 40s, he'd had a hip replacement. All three children -- two daughters and a son -- have also undergone multiple arthroscopic procedures on the knees, hips and shoulders. Both daughters have had total hip-replacement surgeries.

The researchers found that the father and his three children all showed degenerative changes in the hips, and cartilage that was vulnerable to bubbling and peeling off -- exposing bone at an early age. This removal of soft cartilage strips the bone of its protective cushion, leaving it unprotected and extremely susceptible to shattering, the researchers explained.

They have not so far been able to pinpoint a specific genetic cause for this condition.

While further study could help this family, it may also help patients suffering from more common bone disorders, the researchers said.

"Further studies elucidating the mechanisms leading to the delamination of cartilage from the bone in the family may provide insights into cartilage-bone interaction in other forms of joint degeneration," wrote the researchers, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and the University of California, San Diego.

More information

The Arthritis Foundation offers tips on how to be good to your joints.

SOURCE: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., news release, Sept. 26, 2005


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