Versus Arthritis Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis
University of Nottingham

Novel Prognostic Biomarkers for Post-Traumatic Osteoarthritis of the Knee


Injury to a joint increases the risk of a person developing osteoarthritis. Understanding the links between joint injury and osteoarthritis helps us to better understand osteoarthritis as a whole and aims to predict and, hopefully prevent the osteoarthritis that follows injury. Our work studies a person’s reaction within the joint to a sudden joint injury. We do this by measuring levels of certain markers in joint fluid. We can also study genetic (hereditary) factors, some previously linked to osteoarthritis development and some new, to find out if these affect the risk of developing osteoarthritis after knee joint injury (either predisposing to it, or protecting from it). Although we know that there are genes that predispose to osteoarthritis as a whole, we do not currently know if these genes (or others) can increase the risk of osteoarthritis after injury.

To do this, people have previously agreed to take part in our research studies at the time of their joint injury and are followed over time. One such ‘cohort’ study is OxKIC (Oxford Knee Injury Cohort), supported by the Centre, which allows us to ask these research questions.

Fiona Watt, who is involved in this work, is supported by a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship.

Aims and Objectives:

  • To measure markers of the knee injury response in knee joint fluid and understand their relationship to developing knee osteoarthritis.
  • To generate genetic samples (DNA) from blood samples donated by participants in the OxKIC study and understand if the variation in one gene (‘GDF-5’) known to be associated with osteoarthritis as a whole affects the risk of osteoarthritis after joint injury in this and other similar cohort studies available to us.
  • To look at thousands of genes in hundreds of individuals who have experienced joint injury taking part in research studies world-wide, to assess whether there is a genetic (hereditary) risk of developing osteoarthritis after joint injury.
Work Package Early Disease and Risk Prediction: Prevent
Objective   3.2ii, 3.2iii, 3.2iv
Lead Fiona Watt
Investigators Fiona Watt, Stefan Kluzek, Jennifer Alderson
Institution University of Oxford


PTOAS Genetics 240x150