Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) is a chronic disease of the articular cartilage characterized by focal lesions of subchondral bone and overlaying cartilage. Through the growing number of reports describing the high prevalence of OCD in some families, the subcategory termed familial OCD (FOCD) was established. With the development of genetic approaches such as genome-wide association studies and sequencing, aggrecan (ACAN) has been identified as one of the genes of interest associated with FOCD. Aggrecan is a crucial protein for the preservation and function of cartilage. However, due to FOCD being characterized relatively recently, there is a paucity of literature on the subject. The purpose of this review is to explore the relationship between ACAN mutations and familial OCD as well as to explore current treatment options and avenues for future research. In vitro and animal studies have shown the importance of ACAN in the preservation of cartilage. However, the only human ACAN mutation related to OCD ever identified is a V2303M mutation in the G3 domain. Multiple treatments have been superficially explored, and some options such as growth hormone (GH) and gonadotrophin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRHa) show potential. Thus, further research on FOCD in needed to identify other ACAN mutations and determine optimal treatment modalities for this patient population.
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