Kashin-Beck disease (KBD) and Keshan disease (KD) are major endemic diseases in China. Postgraduate Xi Wang et al., under the guidance of Professor Xiong Guo from the Institute of Endemic Diseases of the Faculty of Public Health, Medicine College of Xi'an Jiaotong University, Key Laboratory of Environment and Gene Related Diseases in Ministry of Education, Key Laboratory of Trace Elements and Endemic Diseases of Health Ministry, set out to tackle these two endemic diseases. After several years of innovative research, they have made significant progress in determining the etiology and pathogenesis of these diseases at a molecular level; in particular, the identification of some common differentially expressed genes. Their work, titled "Comparing gene expression profiles of Kashin-Beck and Keshan diseases occurring within the same endemic areas of China", was published in SCIENCE CHINA Life Sciences. 2013 Vol.56(9).
KBD and KD are distributed from the northeast to the southwest of China, where the selenium content is low in the soil. In China, there are 660000 KBD and 40000 KD patients, and approximately 30 million people are at risk. KBD is an endemic osteoarthropathy, the pathologic changes of KBD included significant alterations in chondrocyte phenotype, necrosis, and apoptosis, and abnormal terminal chondrocyte differentiation. The mainly pathologic changes of KD are multifocal myocardial necrosis and fibrosis that can result in cardiogenic shock and congestive heart failure. KD is an endemic myocardosis that happened in women and preschoolers. Since osteoarthritis and myocardium deformities, the most of KBD and KD patients will partially or completely lose their abilities to work even self-care, which seriously reduces their quality of life, and also bring heavy medical burden to society; the etiology and pathogenesis of KBD and KD remain unclear. However, both diseases happened in the same area of China. Moreover, the living conditions of KBD and
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