Genetic factors contribute more to hip than knee surgery due to osteoarthritis - a population-based twin registry study of joint arthroplasty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


OBJECTIVE: To explore and quantify the relative strengths of the genetic contribution vs the contribution of modifiable environmental factors to severe osteoarthritis (OA) having progressed to total joint arthroplasty.

DESIGN: Incident data from the Norwegian Arthroplasty Registry were linked with the Norwegian Twin Registry on the National ID-number in 2014 in a population-based prospective cohort study of same-sex twins born 1915-60 (53.4% females). Education level and height/weight were self-reported and Body Mass Index (BMI) calculated. The total follow-up time was 27 years for hip arthroplasty (1987-2014, 424,914 person-years) and 20 years for knee arthroplasty (1994-2014, 306,207 person-years). We estimated concordances and the genetic contribution to arthroplasty due to OA in separate analyses for the hip and knee joint.

RESULTS: The population comprised N = 9058 twin pairs (N = 3803 monozygotic (MZ), N = 5226 dizygotic (DZ)). In total, 73% (95% confidence intervals (CI) = 66-78%) and 45% (95% CI = 30-58%) of the respective variation in hip and knee arthroplasty could be explained by genetic factors. Zygosity (as a proxy for genetic factors) was associated with hip arthroplasty concordance over time when adjusted for sex, age, education and BMI (HR = 2.98, 95% CI = 1.90-4.67 for MZ compared to DZ twins). Knee arthroplasty was to a greater extent dependent on BMI when adjusted for zygosity and the other covariates (HR = 1.15, 95% CI = 1.02-1.29).

CONCLUSION: Hip arthroplasty was strongly influenced by genetic factors whereas knee arthroplasty to a greater extent depended on a high BMI. The study may imply there is a greater potential for preventing progression of knee OA to arthroplasty in comparison with hip OA.


  • Karin Magnusson
  • K Scurrah
  • E Ystrom
  • R E Ørstavik
  • T Nilsen
  • Ó A Steingrímsdóttir
  • P G Ferreira Parracho
  • Anne M Fenstad
  • Ove Furnes
  • Kare B. Hagen
External organisations
  • Norwegian Institute of Public Health
  • Diakonhjemmet Hospital
  • Haukeland University Hospital
  • University of Bergen
  • University of Melbourne
  • University of Sydney
  • University of Oslo
Research areas and keywords


  • Journal Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)878-884
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Issue number6
Early online date2016 Dec 13
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes