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Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2010 Jul;18(7):927-33. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2010.04.002. Epub 2010 Apr 22.

Common variations in estrogen-related genes are associated with severe large-joint osteoarthritis: a multicenter genetic and functional study.

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Servicio de Medicina Interna, Hospital UM Valdecilla-IFIMAV, Universidad de Cantabria, RETICEF, Santander, Spain.



Several lines of evidence suggest that estrogens influence the development of osteoarthritis (OA). The aim of this study was to explore the association of two common polymorphisms within the aromatase (CYP19A1) and estrogen receptor (ER) alpha (ESR1) genes with severe OA of the lower limbs.


The rs1062033 (CYP19A1) and rs2234693 (ESR1) single nucleotide polymorphisms were genotyped in 5528 individuals (3147 patients with severe hip or knee OA, and 2381 controls) from four centres in Spain and the United Kingdom. Gene expression was measured in femoral bone samples from a group of patients.


In the global analysis, both polymorphisms were associated with OA, but there was a significant sex interaction. The GG genotype at rs1062033 was associated with an increased risk of knee OA in women [odds ratio (OR) 1.23; P=0.04]. The CC genotype at rs2234693 tended to be associated with reduced OA risk in women (OR 0.76, P=0.028, for knee OA; OR=0.84, P=0.076 for hip OA), but with increased risk of hip OA in men (OR 1.28; P=0.029). Women with unfavourable genotypes at both loci had an OR of 1.61 for knee OA (P=0.006). The rs1062033 genotype associated with higher OA risk was also associated with reduced expression of the aromatase gene in bone.


Common genetic variations of the aromatase and ER genes are associated with the risk of severe OA of the large joints of the lower limb in a sex-specific manner. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that estrogen activity may influence the development of large-joint OA.

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