Involvement of an FTO gene polymorphism in the temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis

Clin Oral Investig. 2022 Mar;26(3):2965-2973. doi: 10.1007/s00784-021-04278-9. Epub 2021 Nov 23.


Objectives: The FTO gene has been reported as an obesity-associated gene and is also considered a risk gene for osteoarthritis (OA). However, its exact function is unclear, and there is conflicting evidence on the involvement of FTO polymorphisms in OA via obesity. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of FTO polymorphism rs8044769 alleles on OA in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is minimally affected by body weight.

Materials and methods: A total of 324 TMJs (113 with OA and 211 without OA, serving as controls) from 162 Japanese patients with temporomandibular disorders and undergoing MRI examination were analyzed. Genotyping was conducted, and multivariate analysis was performed after adjusting for the effects of age, sex, body mass index, and TMJ disc abnormalities.

Results: Mean age, BMI, and sex did not differ between the TMJs with OA and the TMJs without OA, but a significant difference was found for positional and dynamic disc abnormalities (P < 0.05). The allele frequency of FTO polymorphisms also differed significantly between the TMJs with OA and the TMJs without OA (P = 0.011). Moreover, logistic regression analysis showed no significant association between BMI (P = 0.581) and the occurrence of TMJOA but also indicated that the CC allele of rs8044769 is a risk factor for TMJOA (P = 0.040).

Conclusions: Our results show that rs8044769 in the FTO gene might be involved in TMJOA.

Clinical relevance: The present study provides a basis for a deeper understanding of the mechanism underlying degenerative skeletal diseases and the more effective selection and development of treatment strategies based on the patients' genetic characteristics.

Keywords: FTO; Obesity; Osteoarthritis; Risk factor; Temporomandibular joint.

MeSH terms

  • Alpha-Ketoglutarate-Dependent Dioxygenase FTO / genetics
  • Humans
  • Osteoarthritis*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics
  • Temporomandibular Joint
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disc
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders* / genetics


  • Alpha-Ketoglutarate-Dependent Dioxygenase FTO
  • FTO protein, human