Familial aggregation of osteoarthritis: Data from the Baltimore longitudinal study on aging

Rosemarie Hirsch, Margaret Lethbridge-Cejku, Robert Hanson, William W. Scott, Ralph Reichle, Chris C. Plato, Jordan D. Tobin, Marc C. Hochberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Objective. To evaluate the familial aggregation of osteoarthritis (OA) in a cohort of healthy volunteers drawn from a community setting. Methods. Hand radiographs obtained between 1978 and 1991 and bilateral standing knee radiographs obtained between 1984 and 1991 were read for changes of OA, using Kellgren-Lawrence (K-L) scales. The hand sites were distal interphalangeal (DIP) joints, proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joints, and first carpometacarpal (CMC1) joints. For each joint group, the presence of OA in at least I joint in a joint group, the number of affected digits in each joint group, and the sum of the K-L grade across all joints were analyzed. Polyarticular OA was recorded if there were OA findings in 2 of 3 hand joint groups plus I or both knees. Data from 167 families with hand radiographs, 157 families with knee radiographs, and 148 families with both hand and knee radiographs were analyzed for sib-sib correlations. Results. After adjustment for age, sex, and body mass index, clinically relevant sib-sib common correlations were found for OA of the DIP, PIP, and CMC1 joints, for OA at 2 or 3 hand sites, and for polyarticular OA (r = 0.33-0.81) when OA was defined according to the number of affected joints or as the sum of the K-L grade across all joints. Conclusion. These results from a cohort of volunteers drawn from a community setting and ascertained without regard to OA status demonstrate familial aggregation of OA and contribute to the evidence for heritability of OA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1227-1232
Number of pages6
JournalArthritis and rheumatism
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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