Niels Bömer | 17-01-2017 | Thyroid hormone signalling in Osteoarthritis: early life events in late life disease

The lifespan of an organism is determined by a complex network of environmental-, genetic- and stochastic factors. Each of these components contributes to the In the field of Osteoarthritis (OA) research the step from genetics to biological functionality, also named ‘functional genomics’, is necessary to allow valorisation of genetic findings, thereby augmenting the need for functional data of disease relevant tissues. Even so, it was estimated that pursuing druggable targets directed by genetic studies are twice as often successful as compared to those without it. In this thesis we apply the functional genomics methodology, to proceed from a genetic association to mechanistic understanding of the effect of genetic variation on gene expression and epigenetic regulation contributing to OA susceptibility. Particularly we set out to characterize and validate the pathophysiological processes that underlie the role of DIO2/thyroid hormone signalling in the onset of OA after identifying the DIO2 gene as a OA susceptibility locus. The results in this thesis show that intracellular T3 levels should be strictly regulated via DIO2 upon mechanical loading of the cartilage, to ensure cartilage tissue homeostasis. Future endeavours should be designed to demonstrate that local inhibition of DIO2 by intra-articular admission of a deiodinase-inhibitor (Iopanoic acid), could be an effective therapy to alleviate the burden of OA thereby increasing mobility, well-being and quality of life particularly among elderly.

Link to whole thesis