Emerging Genetic Basis of Osteochondritis Dissecans

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Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) is a focal idiopathic alteration of subchondral bone with risk for instability and disruption of adjacent articular cartilage that may result in premature osteoarthritis (OA).1 This condition is commonly found in horses, pigs, dogs, and humans2. König3 first used the term OCD to describe a condition that causes the formation of loose bodies in the joints of young individuals without arthritis or trauma. Although more than 100 years have passed since König3 described OCD, little knowledge exists of the specific etiology and pathogenesis of this disease. Many etiologic theories have been proposed for the onset and progression of OCD, including trauma, diet, rapid growth, anatomic characteristics, lack of blood supply, necrosis of subchondral bone, and heredity (recently reviewed in Refs. 4-8). Recent experiments have provided additional information regarding the underlying genetic traits that may predispose an individual to OCD.