(HealthDay News) – The PARK2 gene may be associated with lumbar disc degeneration (LDD), according to a study published online Sept 19 in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Frances M.K. Williams, PhD, from King’s College London, and colleagues conducted a genome-wide association meta-analysis of LDD in 4,600 individuals with Northern European ancestry.

The researchers found four single nucleotide polymorphisms meeting the threshold for genome-wide significance. A variant in the PARK2 gene was associated with LDD. In a small subset of subjects, differential methylation at one CpG island of the PARK2 promoter was observed.

“Further work by disc researchers to define the role of this gene will, we hope, shed light on one of the most important causes of lower back pain,” Williams said in a statement. “It is feasible that if we can build on this finding and improve our knowledge of the condition, we may one day be able to develop new, more effective treatments for back pain caused by this common condition.”

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