A new study, titled “Gene Expression Differences in Young Male and Female Ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligaments,” has identified varied female-to-male expression of ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules leading to proteins maintaining ligament structure. A news report from Science Daily indicates that female athletes are two to eight times more likely to suffer an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury than males, and little research has looked specifically at the role of genetics.

For the study, a biopsy of normally discarded ruptured ACL tissue was obtained during surgery from seven male and seven female young athlete patients. The biopsies were then divided into groups for microscopic and genetics analysis. The Science Daily news report notes that 32 significantly differentially expressed genes were isolated from female and male tissue, of which 14 were neither linked to the X or Y chromosome.

The 14 remaining genes were then grouped according to skeletal muscular development, function, and cellular growth. The Science Daily news report notes that as compared to males, the microarray analysis showed altered responses in signaling pathways that regulate tissue growth and cartilage in females.

The authors of the study believe the findings represent “the tip of the iceberg” in terms of determining the role of genetics in ACL structure and tendency toward increased ligament injury in female compared to male athletes, as indicated on the Science Daily news report.

To view the abstract presentation of this research, visit: http://www.abstractsonline.com/Plan/ViewAbstract.aspx?mID=3358&sKey=47b6cfe1-82d8-4509-9b33-7f7473c13f0d&cKey=22499357-aa6a-42e8-9107-ba8e78b71386&mKey=4393d428-d755-4a34-8a63-26b1b7a349a1.

Sources:  Science Daily, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons