Study identifies genetic differences in female athletes with ACL injuries

March 13, 2014

Female athletes are two-to-eight times more likely to suffer an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury than males. And while there have been reports about possible anatomic, hormonal and neuromuscular factors that may place females at greater risk for these injuries, little research has looked specifically at the role of genetics.

For the first time, a new study, presented today at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), identified varied female-to-male expression of several genes leading to proteins maintaining ligament structure.

In "Gene Expression Differences in Young Male and Female Ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligaments," researchers obtained a biopsy of normally discarded ruptured ACL tissue during surgery from seven male and seven female young athlete patients. Biopsies were then divided into groups for microscopic (histological) and gene microarray analysis. Thirty-two significantly differentially expressed genes were isolated from male and female tissue, of which 14 were not linked to either X or Y chromosome. The 14 genes were then grouped according to skeletal muscular development, function and cellular growth. In , compared to males, the microarray analysis showed altered responses in signaling pathways that regulate cartilage and tissue growth.

The study authors believe the findings represent "the tip of the iceberg" in terms of determining the role of genetics in ACL structure and tendency toward increased in female compared to male athletes.

Explore further: Battle of the sexes: Who wins (or loses) in ACL ruptures?

Related Stories

Battle of the sexes: Who wins (or loses) in ACL ruptures?

January 8, 2013
Female athletes are three times more likely to suffer from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) ruptures, one of the most common knee injuries, compared to male athletes. The ACL is one of the four main ligaments within the knee ...

Second ACL injuries six times more likely after reconstruction

July 11, 2013
Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) surgery is a common knee injury procedure, but the overall incidence rate of having to go through it again within 24 months is 6 times greater than someone who has never had ...

Geometry, not gender: New study may shed light on why women, and some men, are at greater risk for ACL injuries

February 6, 2012
Much orthopaedic research has been devoted to determining why women are far more susceptible to knee ligament injuries than men. According to a new study, the answer may lie in geometry – the length and shape of a patient's ...

New ligament discovered in the human knee

November 5, 2013
Two knee surgeons at University Hospitals Leuven have discovered a previously unknown ligament in the human knee. This ligament appears to play an important role in patients with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears.

ACL knee injuries much more likely in female athletes: Simple techniques can reduce injury risk, surgeon says

November 15, 2012
Female athletes are far more likely than males to suffer serious ACL knee injuries.

Orthopaedic surgeon says anterolateral ligament not "new" but promising for ACL injuries

November 11, 2013
While anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction surgery is a widely accepted and proven procedure, according to a renowned orthopaedic surgeon at Western University, there is still an unacceptably high re-injury rate ...

Recommended for you

New insights into the world of trypanosomes

August 23, 2017
Single specimens of the vermicular pathogens causing sleeping sickness swim inside the gut of the tsetse fly between blood cells which the fly has ingested from an infected mammal. This is where they start their week-long ...

Survey of DNA fragments circulating in the blood suggests vast microbial diversity

August 23, 2017
A new survey of DNA fragments circulating in human blood suggests our bodies contain vastly more diverse microbes than anyone previously understood. What's more, the overwhelming majority of those microbes have never been ...

Study a breakthrough in understanding chronic pain in children

August 23, 2017
A University of Calgary psychologist who studies pediatric pain has made a breakthrough in understanding the cause of chronic pain in adolescents—by focusing on those recovering from major surgeries.

Scientists develop infection model for tickborne flaviviruses

August 22, 2017
National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists have filled a research gap by developing a laboratory model to study ticks that transmit flaviviruses, such as Powassan virus. Powassan virus was implicated in the death of a ...

Zika virus stifles pregnant women's weakened immune system to harm baby, study finds

August 21, 2017
The Zika virus, linked to congenital birth defects and miscarriages, suppresses a pregnant woman's immune system, enabling the virus to spread and increasing the chances an unborn baby will be harmed, a Keck School of Medicine ...

Fatty liver can cause damage to other organs via crosstalk

August 21, 2017
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is increasingly common. Approximately every third adult in industrialized countries has a morbidly fatty liver. This not only increases the risk of chronic liver diseases such as liver cirrhosis ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.