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Meeting report

Genetics of osteoarticular disorders, Florence, Italy, 22–23 February 2002

Alberto Falchetti

Author Affiliations

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Florence, Florence, Italy

Arthritis Res 2002, 4:326-331  doi:10.1186/ar590

Published: 30 July 2002

Abstract

Osteoporosis (OP) and osteoarthritis (OA), the two most common age-related chronic disorders of articular joints and skeleton, represent a major public health problem in most developed countries. They are influenced by environmental factors and exhibit a strong genetic component. Large population studies clearly show their inverse relationship; therefore, an accurate analysis of the genetic bases of one of these two diseases may provide data of interest for the other disorder. The discovery of risk and protective genes for OP and OA promises to revolutionize strategies for diagnosing and treating these disorders. The primary goal of this symposium was to bring together scientists and clinicians working on OP and OA in order to identify the most promising and collaborative approaches for the coming decade. This meeting put into focus the importance of an adequate genetic approach to several areas of research: the search for the genetic determinants underlying new susceptibilities, the optimization of previously acquired data; the establishment of correlations between genetic polymorphism and functional variants, and gene–gene and gene–environment interactions (particularly those between genes and nutrients). An adequate genetic approach is also essential with regard to determining more selective criteria for phenotypic definition of familial OP, in order to obtain more homogeneous and statistically powerful family-based studies. The symposium concluded with an interesting overview of the future perspectives offered by DNA microarray technologies for identifying novel candidate genes, for developing proteomics and bioinformatics analyses and for designing low-cost clinical trials.

Keywords:
estrogen; genetics; osteoarthritis; osteochondrodysplasia; osteoporosis