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1.  P1 - Maxillary Osteoporosis and Genetic Predisposition 
Osteoporosis is a form of dysmetabolic osteopathy of multifactorial origin, characterised by reduction of the bone matrix and mineral portion and, overall, of bone mass, leading to fragility and increased fracture risk.
AETIOPATHOGENESIS -ENDOCRINE FACTORS: ACTH, glycocorticoids, PTH, thyroxine, oestrogen, testosterone-GENETIC FACTORS: Major genes that regulate fundamental characteristics of bone, such as density and quality, and minor genes that regulate individual genetic background [lipoprotein receptor related protein (LRP5), TGF1, BMP, VDR, COL1A1, ER].
The DIAGNOSIS is based on history, clinical findings (vertebral or appendicular fractures), blood chemistry, conventional radiology and bone mass measurement. For the latter, it is possible to use DUAL-ENERGY X-RAY DENSITOMETRY which measures bone mineral content: according to the WHO definition, in osteoporosis bone mineral density (BMD) is more than 2.5 standard deviations below normal.
MAXILLARY OSTEOPOROSIS: because of their function as a support for teeth, which leads to the development of the alveolar process, and their role in mastication, the jawbones (maxilla and mandible) differ from all the other bones of the skeleton. This role, also involving the masticatory muscles, prompts bone trophism. In advancing age a marked reduction of the thickness of the maxillary cortical bone is observed, together with increased porosity and constant functional remodelling of the trabecular part, a phenomenon that, as it increases, leads to tooth loss. Only a mandibular area (a bucco-lingual area of cortical bone in front of the mental foramen) remains unmodified, independently of gender, age and tooth loss.
Materials and methods:
Kemifar® supplies a test which can be used to study several factors (Er, VDR, COL1A1) that predispose to the development of osteoporosis. OsteoResis®Type is a simple, non-invasive test that allows the complete determination, and interpretation, of several genotypes associated with the appearance of osteoporosis. The test requires a pinprick blood sample, taken from the fingertip: from this sample, which is placed on a special paper, the genetic material is extracted for subsequent analysis. The test supplies definitive data, does have to be repeated and can be carried out at any time.
Gene polymorphism influences the appearance of osteoporotic fracture risk: individuals with an absent enzyme restriction site have a markedly reduced osteoporotic fracture risk, therefore if capital “X” indicates absence of the restriction site, the XX subject has a resistant genotype as the site is not present on either chromosome, whereas Xx and xx subjects have a susceptible genotype.
A sample of 20 subjects randomly drawn from among patients referred to our department of oral and implant surgery underwent the above test.
Discussion and conclusions:
The genetic component is becoming increasingly important in the early diagnosis of osteoporosis. Even though there are many risk factors involved in the pathogenesis of the disease, the most important is still a positive family history. The single individual’s genetic makeup is important as regards bone mass peak, which is 50–60% genetically determined.
PMCID: PMC3213811
2.  Genome-Wide Association Study Identifies ALDH7A1 as a Novel Susceptibility Gene for Osteoporosis 
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(1):e1000806.
Osteoporosis is a major public health problem. It is mainly characterized by low bone mineral density (BMD) and/or low-trauma osteoporotic fractures (OF), both of which have strong genetic determination. The specific genes influencing these phenotypic traits, however, are largely unknown. Using the Affymetrix 500K array set, we performed a case-control genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 700 elderly Chinese Han subjects (350 with hip OF and 350 healthy matched controls). A follow-up replication study was conducted to validate our major GWAS findings in an independent Chinese sample containing 390 cases with hip OF and 516 controls. We found that a SNP, rs13182402 within the ALDH7A1 gene on chromosome 5q31, was strongly associated with OF with evidence combined GWAS and replication studies (P = 2.08×10−9, odds ratio = 2.25). In order to explore the target risk factors and potential mechanism underlying hip OF risk, we further examined this candidate SNP's relevance to hip BMD both in Chinese and Caucasian populations involving 9,962 additional subjects. This SNP was confirmed as consistently associated with hip BMD even across ethnic boundaries, in both Chinese and Caucasians (combined P = 6.39×10−6), further attesting to its potential effect on osteoporosis. ALDH7A1 degrades and detoxifies acetaldehyde, which inhibits osteoblast proliferation and results in decreased bone formation. Our findings may provide new insights into the pathogenesis of osteoporosis.
Author Summary
Osteoporosis is a major health concern worldwide. It is a highly heritable disease characterized mainly by low bone mineral density (BMD) and/or osteoporotic fractures. However, the specific genetic variants determining risk for low BMD or OF are largely unknown. Here, taking advantage of recent technological advances in human genetics, we performed a genome-wide association study and follow-up validation studies to identify genetic variants for osteoporosis. By examining a total of 11,568 individuals from Chinese and Caucasian populations, we discovered a susceptibility gene, ALDH7A1, which is associated with hip osteoporotic fracture and BMD. ALDH7A1 might inhibit osteoblast proliferation and decrease bone formation. Our finding opens a new avenue for exploring the pathophysiology of osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC2794362  PMID: 20072603
3.  Utilization of DXA Bone Mineral Densitometry in Ontario 
Executive Summary
Systematic reviews and analyses of administrative data were performed to determine the appropriate use of bone mineral density (BMD) assessments using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), and the associated trends in wrist and hip fractures in Ontario.
Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry Bone Mineral Density Assessment
Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry bone densitometers measure bone density based on differential absorption of 2 x-ray beams by bone and soft tissues. It is the gold standard for detecting and diagnosing osteoporosis, a systemic disease characterized by low bone density and altered bone structure, resulting in low bone strength and increased risk of fractures. The test is fast (approximately 10 minutes) and accurate (exceeds 90% at the hip), with low radiation (1/3 to 1/5 of that from a chest x-ray). DXA densitometers are licensed as Class 3 medical devices in Canada. The World Health Organization has established criteria for osteoporosis and osteopenia based on DXA BMD measurements: osteoporosis is defined as a BMD that is >2.5 standard deviations below the mean BMD for normal young adults (i.e. T-score <–2.5), while osteopenia is defined as BMD that is more than 1 standard deviation but less than 2.5 standard deviation below the mean for normal young adults (i.e. T-score< –1 & ≥–2.5). DXA densitometry is presently an insured health service in Ontario.
Clinical Need
Burden of Disease
The Canadian Multicenter Osteoporosis Study (CaMos) found that 16% of Canadian women and 6.6% of Canadian men have osteoporosis based on the WHO criteria, with prevalence increasing with age. Osteopenia was found in 49.6% of Canadian women and 39% of Canadian men. In Ontario, it is estimated that nearly 530,000 Ontarians have some degrees of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis-related fragility fractures occur most often in the wrist, femur and pelvis. These fractures, particularly those in the hip, are associated with increased mortality, and decreased functional capacity and quality of life. A Canadian study showed that at 1 year after a hip fracture, the mortality rate was 20%. Another 20% required institutional care, 40% were unable to walk independently, and there was lower health-related quality of life due to attributes such as pain, decreased mobility and decreased ability to self-care. The cost of osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures in Canada was estimated to be $1.3 billion in 1993.
Guidelines for Bone Mineral Density Testing
With 2 exceptions, almost all guidelines address only women. None of the guidelines recommend blanket population-based BMD testing. Instead, all guidelines recommend BMD testing in people at risk of osteoporosis, predominantly women aged 65 years or older. For women under 65 years of age, BMD testing is recommended only if one major or two minor risk factors for osteoporosis exist. Osteoporosis Canada did not restrict its recommendations to women, and thus their guidelines apply to both sexes. Major risk factors are age greater than or equal to 65 years, a history of previous fractures, family history (especially parental history) of fracture, and medication or disease conditions that affect bone metabolism (such as long-term glucocorticoid therapy). Minor risk factors include low body mass index, low calcium intake, alcohol consumption, and smoking.
Current Funding for Bone Mineral Density Testing
The Ontario Health Insurance Program (OHIP) Schedule presently reimburses DXA BMD at the hip and spine. Measurements at both sites are required if feasible. Patients at low risk of accelerated bone loss are limited to one BMD test within any 24-month period, but there are no restrictions on people at high risk. The total fee including the professional and technical components for a test involving 2 or more sites is $106.00 (Cdn).
Method of Review
This review consisted of 2 parts. The first part was an analysis of Ontario administrative data relating to DXA BMD, wrist and hip fractures, and use of antiresorptive drugs in people aged 65 years and older. The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences extracted data from the OHIP claims database, the Canadian Institute for Health Information hospital discharge abstract database, the National Ambulatory Care Reporting System, and the Ontario Drug Benefit database using OHIP and ICD-10 codes. The data was analyzed to examine the trends in DXA BMD use from 1992 to 2005, and to identify areas requiring improvement.
The second part included systematic reviews and analyses of evidence relating to issues identified in the analyses of utilization data. Altogether, 8 reviews and qualitative syntheses were performed, consisting of 28 published systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses, 34 randomized controlled trials, and 63 observational studies.
Findings of Utilization Analysis
Analysis of administrative data showed a 10-fold increase in the number of BMD tests in Ontario between 1993 and 2005.
OHIP claims for BMD tests are presently increasing at a rate of 6 to 7% per year. Approximately 500,000 tests were performed in 2005/06 with an age-adjusted rate of 8,600 tests per 100,000 population.
Women accounted for 90 % of all BMD tests performed in the province.
In 2005/06, there was a 2-fold variation in the rate of DXA BMD tests across local integrated health networks, but a 10-fold variation between the county with the highest rate (Toronto) and that with the lowest rate (Kenora). The analysis also showed that:
With the increased use of BMD, there was a concomitant increase in the use of antiresorptive drugs (as shown in people 65 years and older) and a decrease in the rate of hip fractures in people age 50 years and older.
Repeat BMD made up approximately 41% of all tests. Most of the people (>90%) who had annual BMD tests in a 2-year or 3-year period were coded as being at high risk for osteoporosis.
18% (20,865) of the people who had a repeat BMD within a 24-month period and 34% (98,058) of the people who had one BMD test in a 3-year period were under 65 years, had no fracture in the year, and coded as low-risk.
Only 19% of people age greater than 65 years underwent BMD testing and 41% received osteoporosis treatment during the year following a fracture.
Men accounted for 24% of all hip fractures and 21 % of all wrist fractures, but only 10% of BMD tests. The rates of BMD tests and treatment in men after a fracture were only half of those in women.
In both men and women, the rate of hip and wrist fractures mainly increased after age 65 with the sharpest increase occurring after age 80 years.
Findings of Systematic Review and Analysis
Serial Bone Mineral Density Testing for People Not Receiving Osteoporosis Treatment
A systematic review showed that the mean rate of bone loss in people not receiving osteoporosis treatment (including postmenopausal women) is generally less than 1% per year. Higher rates of bone loss were reported for people with disease conditions or on medications that affect bone metabolism. In order to be considered a genuine biological change, the change in BMD between serial measurements must exceed the least significant change (variability) of the testing, ranging from 2.77% to 8% for precisions ranging from 1% to 3% respectively. Progression in BMD was analyzed, using different rates of baseline BMD values, rates of bone loss, precision, and BMD value for initiating treatment. The analyses showed that serial BMD measurements every 24 months (as per OHIP policy for low-risk individuals) is not necessary for people with no major risk factors for osteoporosis, provided that the baseline BMD is normal (T-score ≥ –1), and the rate of bone loss is less than or equal to 1% per year. The analyses showed that for someone with a normal baseline BMD and a rate of bone loss of less than 1% per year, the change in BMD is not likely to exceed least significant change (even for a 1% precision) in less than 3 years after the baseline test, and is not likely to drop to a BMD level that requires initiation of treatment in less than 16 years after the baseline test.
Serial Bone Mineral Density Testing in People Receiving Osteoporosis Therapy
Seven published meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and 2 recent RCTs on BMD monitoring during osteoporosis therapy showed that although higher increases in BMD were generally associated with reduced risk of fracture, the change in BMD only explained a small percentage of the fracture risk reduction.
Studies showed that some people with small or no increase in BMD during treatment experienced significant fracture risk reduction, indicating that other factors such as improved bone microarchitecture might have contributed to fracture risk reduction.
There is conflicting evidence relating to the role of BMD testing in improving patient compliance with osteoporosis therapy.
Even though BMD may not be a perfect surrogate for reduction in fracture risk when monitoring responses to osteoporosis therapy, experts advised that it is still the only reliable test available for this purpose.
A systematic review conducted by the Medical Advisory Secretariat showed that the magnitude of increases in BMD during osteoporosis drug therapy varied among medications. Although most of the studies yielded mean percentage increases in BMD from baseline that did not exceed the least significant change for a 2% precision after 1 year of treatment, there were some exceptions.
Bone Mineral Density Testing and Treatment After a Fragility Fracture
A review of 3 published pooled analyses of observational studies and 12 prospective population-based observational studies showed that the presence of any prevalent fracture increases the relative risk for future fractures by approximately 2-fold or more. A review of 10 systematic reviews of RCTs and 3 additional RCTs showed that therapy with antiresorptive drugs significantly reduced the risk of vertebral fractures by 40 to 50% in postmenopausal osteoporotic women and osteoporotic men, and 2 antiresorptive drugs also reduced the risk of nonvertebral fractures by 30 to 50%. Evidence from observational studies in Canada and other jurisdictions suggests that patients who had undergone BMD measurements, particularly if a diagnosis of osteoporosis is made, were more likely to be given pharmacologic bone-sparing therapy. Despite these findings, the rate of BMD investigation and osteoporosis treatment after a fracture remained low (<20%) in Ontario as well as in other jurisdictions.
Bone Mineral Density Testing in Men
There are presently no specific Canadian guidelines for BMD screening in men. A review of the literature suggests that risk factors for fracture and the rate of vertebral deformity are similar for men and women, but the mortality rate after a hip fracture is higher in men compared with women. Two bisphosphonates had been shown to reduce the risk of vertebral and hip fractures in men. However, BMD testing and osteoporosis treatment were proportionately low in Ontario men in general, and particularly after a fracture, even though men accounted for 25% of the hip and wrist fractures. The Ontario data also showed that the rates of wrist fracture and hip fracture in men rose sharply in the 75- to 80-year age group.
Ontario-Based Economic Analysis
The economic analysis focused on analyzing the economic impact of decreasing future hip fractures by increasing the rate of BMD testing in men and women age greater than or equal to 65 years following a hip or wrist fracture. A decision analysis showed the above strategy, especially when enhanced by improved reporting of BMD tests, to be cost-effective, resulting in a cost-effectiveness ratio ranging from $2,285 (Cdn) per fracture avoided (worst-case scenario) to $1,981 (Cdn) per fracture avoided (best-case scenario). A budget impact analysis estimated that shifting utilization of BMD testing from the low risk population to high risk populations within Ontario would result in a saving of $0.85 million to $1.5 million (Cdn) to the health system. The potential net saving was estimated at $1.2 million to $5 million (Cdn) when the downstream cost-avoidance due to prevention of future hip fractures was factored into the analysis.
Other Factors for Consideration
There is a lack of standardization for BMD testing in Ontario. Two different standards are presently being used and experts suggest that variability in results from different facilities may lead to unnecessary testing. There is also no requirement for standardized equipment, procedure or reporting format. The current reimbursement policy for BMD testing encourages serial testing in people at low risk of accelerated bone loss. This review showed that biannual testing is not necessary for all cases. The lack of a database to collect clinical data on BMD testing makes it difficult to evaluate the clinical profiles of patients tested and outcomes of the BMD tests. There are ministry initiatives in progress under the Osteoporosis Program to address the development of a mandatory standardized requisition form for BMD tests to facilitate data collection and clinical decision-making. Work is also underway for developing guidelines for BMD testing in men and in perimenopausal women.
Increased use of BMD in Ontario since 1996 appears to be associated with increased use of antiresorptive medication and a decrease in hip and wrist fractures.
Data suggest that as many as 20% (98,000) of the DXA BMD tests in Ontario in 2005/06 were performed in people aged less than 65 years, with no fracture in the current year, and coded as being at low risk for accelerated bone loss; this is not consistent with current guidelines. Even though some of these people might have been incorrectly coded as low-risk, the number of tests in people truly at low risk could still be substantial.
Approximately 4% (21,000) of the DXA BMD tests in 2005/06 were repeat BMDs in low-risk individuals within a 24-month period. Even though this is in compliance with current OHIP reimbursement policies, evidence showed that biannual serial BMD testing is not necessary in individuals without major risk factors for fractures, provided that the baseline BMD is normal (T-score < –1). In this population, BMD measurements may be repeated in 3 to 5 years after the baseline test to establish the rate of bone loss, and further serial BMD tests may not be necessary for another 7 to 10 years if the rate of bone loss is no more than 1% per year. Precision of the test needs to be considered when interpreting serial BMD results.
Although changes in BMD may not be the perfect surrogate for reduction in fracture risk as a measure of response to osteoporosis treatment, experts advised that it is presently the only reliable test for monitoring response to treatment and to help motivate patients to continue treatment. Patients should not discontinue treatment if there is no increase in BMD after the first year of treatment. Lack of response or bone loss during treatment should prompt the physician to examine whether the patient is taking the medication appropriately.
Men and women who have had a fragility fracture at the hip, spine, wrist or shoulder are at increased risk of having a future fracture, but this population is presently under investigated and under treated. Additional efforts have to be made to communicate to physicians (particularly orthopaedic surgeons and family physicians) and the public about the need for a BMD test after fracture, and for initiating treatment if low BMD is found.
Men had a disproportionately low rate of BMD tests and osteoporosis treatment, especially after a fracture. Evidence and fracture data showed that the risk of hip and wrist fractures in men rises sharply at age 70 years.
Some counties had BMD utilization rates that were only 10% of that of the county with the highest utilization. The reasons for low utilization need to be explored and addressed.
Initiatives such as aligning reimbursement policy with current guidelines, developing specific guidelines for BMD testing in men and perimenopausal women, improving BMD reports to assist in clinical decision making, developing a registry to track BMD tests, improving access to BMD tests in remote/rural counties, establishing mechanisms to alert family physicians of fractures, and educating physicians and the public, will improve the appropriate utilization of BMD tests, and further decrease the rate of fractures in Ontario. Some of these initiatives such as developing guidelines for perimenopausal women and men, and developing a standardized requisition form for BMD testing, are currently in progress under the Ontario Osteoporosis Strategy.
PMCID: PMC3379167  PMID: 23074491
4.  WNT16 Influences Bone Mineral Density, Cortical Bone Thickness, Bone Strength, and Osteoporotic Fracture Risk 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(7):e1002745.
We aimed to identify genetic variants associated with cortical bone thickness (CBT) and bone mineral density (BMD) by performing two separate genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analyses for CBT in 3 cohorts comprising 5,878 European subjects and for BMD in 5 cohorts comprising 5,672 individuals. We then assessed selected single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for osteoporotic fracture in 2,023 cases and 3,740 controls. Association with CBT and forearm BMD was tested for ∼2.5 million SNPs in each cohort separately, and results were meta-analyzed using fixed effect meta-analysis. We identified a missense SNP (Thr>Ile; rs2707466) located in the WNT16 gene (7q31), associated with CBT (effect size of −0.11 standard deviations [SD] per C allele, P = 6.2×10−9). This SNP, as well as another nonsynonymous SNP rs2908004 (Gly>Arg), also had genome-wide significant association with forearm BMD (−0.14 SD per C allele, P = 2.3×10−12, and −0.16 SD per G allele, P = 1.2×10−15, respectively). Four genome-wide significant SNPs arising from BMD meta-analysis were tested for association with forearm fracture. SNP rs7776725 in FAM3C, a gene adjacent to WNT16, was associated with a genome-wide significant increased risk of forearm fracture (OR = 1.33, P = 7.3×10−9), with genome-wide suggestive signals from the two missense variants in WNT16 (rs2908004: OR = 1.22, P = 4.9×10−6 and rs2707466: OR = 1.22, P = 7.2×10−6). We next generated a homozygous mouse with targeted disruption of Wnt16. Female Wnt16−/− mice had 27% (P<0.001) thinner cortical bones at the femur midshaft, and bone strength measures were reduced between 43%–61% (6.5×10−13
Author Summary
Bone traits are highly dependent on genetic factors. To date, numerous genetic loci for bone mineral density (BMD) and only one locus for osteoporotic fracture have been previously identified to be genome-wide significant. Cortical bone has been reported to be an important determinant of bone strength; so far, no genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been performed for cortical bone thickness (CBT) of the tibial and radial diaphysis or BMD at forearm, a skeletal site rich in cortical bone. Therefore, we performed two separated meta-analyses of GWAS for cortical thickness of the tibia in 3 independent cohorts of 5,878 men and women, and for forearm BMD in 5 cohorts of 5,672 individuals. We identified the 7q31 locus, which contains WNT16, to be associated with CBT and BMD. Four SNPs from this locus were then tested in 2,023 osteoporotic fracture cases and 3,740 controls. One of these SNPs was genome-wide significant, and two were genome-wide suggestive, for forearm fracture. Generating a mouse with targeted disruption of Wnt16, we also demonstrated that mice lacking this protein had substantially thinner bone cortices and reduced bone strength than their wild-type littermates. These findings highlight WNT16 as a clinically relevant member of the Wnt signaling pathway and increase our understanding of the etiology of osteoporosis-related phenotypes and fracture.
PMCID: PMC3390364  PMID: 22792071
Bone  2008;43(3):607-612.
Fracture risk is associated with bone mineral density (BMD) and with other indices of bone strength, including hip geometry. While the heritability and associated fracture risk of BMD are well described, less is known about genetic influences of bone geometry. We derived hip structural phenotypes using the Hip Structural Analysis Program (HSA) and performed autosome-wide linkage analysis of hip geometric structural phenotypes.
Materials and Methods
The Amish Family Osteoporosis Study was designed to identify genes affecting bone health. BMD was measured at the hip using dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in 879 participants (mean age ± SD = 49.8 ± 16.1 yrs, range 18–91 yrs) from large multigenerational families. From DXA scans, we computed structural measures of hip geometry at the femoral neck (NN) and shaft (S) by HSA, including cross sectional area (CSA), endocortical or inner diameter (ID), outer diameter (OD) buckling ratio (BR) and section modulus (Z). Genotyping of 731 highly polymorphic microsatellite markers (average spacing of 5.4 cM) and autosome-wide multipoint linkage analysis was performed.
The heritability of HSA-derived hip phenotypes ranged from 40 to 84%. In the group as a whole, autosome-wide linkage analysis suggested evidence of linkage for QTLs related to NN_Z on chromosome 1p36 (LOD=2.36). In sub-group analysis, ten additional suggestive regions of linkage were found on chromosomes 1, 2, 5, 6, 11, 12, 14, 15 and 17, all with LOD ≥ 2.3 except for our linkage at 17q11.2–13 for men and women age 50 and under for NN_CSA, which had a lower LOD of 2.16, but confirmed a previous linkage report.
We found HSA-derived measures of hip structure to be highly heritable independent of BMD. No strong evidence of linkage was found for any phenotype. Confirmatory evidence of linkage was found on chromosome 17q11.2–12 for NN_CSA. Modest evidence was found for genes affecting hip structural phenotypes at ten other chromosomal locations.
PMCID: PMC2591020  PMID: 18555766
hip structural phenotype; bone geometry; heritability; genetics; autosome-wide scan
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(6):e1000977.
Osteoporosis is a complex disorder and commonly leads to fractures in elderly persons. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have become an unbiased approach to identify variations in the genome that potentially affect health. However, the genetic variants identified so far only explain a small proportion of the heritability for complex traits. Due to the modest genetic effect size and inadequate power, true association signals may not be revealed based on a stringent genome-wide significance threshold. Here, we take advantage of SNP and transcript arrays and integrate GWAS and expression signature profiling relevant to the skeletal system in cellular and animal models to prioritize the discovery of novel candidate genes for osteoporosis-related traits, including bone mineral density (BMD) at the lumbar spine (LS) and femoral neck (FN), as well as geometric indices of the hip (femoral neck-shaft angle, NSA; femoral neck length, NL; and narrow-neck width, NW). A two-stage meta-analysis of GWAS from 7,633 Caucasian women and 3,657 men, revealed three novel loci associated with osteoporosis-related traits, including chromosome 1p13.2 (RAP1A, p = 3.6×10−8), 2q11.2 (TBC1D8), and 18q11.2 (OSBPL1A), and confirmed a previously reported region near TNFRSF11B/OPG gene. We also prioritized 16 suggestive genome-wide significant candidate genes based on their potential involvement in skeletal metabolism. Among them, 3 candidate genes were associated with BMD in women. Notably, 2 out of these 3 genes (GPR177, p = 2.6×10−13; SOX6, p = 6.4×10−10) associated with BMD in women have been successfully replicated in a large-scale meta-analysis of BMD, but none of the non-prioritized candidates (associated with BMD) did. Our results support the concept of our prioritization strategy. In the absence of direct biological support for identified genes, we highlighted the efficiency of subsequent functional characterization using publicly available expression profiling relevant to the skeletal system in cellular or whole animal models to prioritize candidate genes for further functional validation.
Author Summary
BMD and hip geometry are two major predictors of osteoporotic fractures, the most severe consequence of osteoporosis in elderly persons. We performed sex-specific genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for BMD at the lumbar spine and femor neck skeletal sites as well as hip geometric indices (NSA, NL, and NW) in the Framingham Osteoporosis Study and then replicated the top findings in two independent studies. Three novel loci were significant: in women, including chromosome 1p13.2 (RAP1A) for NW; in men, 2q11.2 (TBC1D8) for NSA and 18q11.2 (OSBPL1A) for NW. We confirmed a previously reported region on 8q24.12 (TNFRSF11B/OPG) for lumbar spine BMD in women. In addition, we integrated GWAS signals with eQTL in several tissues and publicly available expression signature profiling in cellular and whole-animal models, and prioritized 16 candidate genes/loci based on their potential involvement in skeletal metabolism. Among three prioritized loci (GPR177, SOX6, and CASR genes) associated with BMD in women, GPR177 and SOX6 have been successfully replicated later in a large-scale meta-analysis, but none of the non-prioritized candidates (associated with BMD) did. Our results support the concept of using expression profiling to support the candidacy of suggestive GWAS signals that may contain important genes of interest.
PMCID: PMC2883588  PMID: 20548944
BoneKEy reports  2012;1:114.
Increased rates of osteoporotic fractures represent a worldwide phenomenon, which result from a progressing aging in the population around the world and creating socioeconomic problems. This review will focus mostly on human genetic studies identifying genomic regions, genes and mutations associated with osteoporosis (bone mineral density (BMD) and bone loss) and related fractures, which were published during 2011. Although multiple genome-wide association studies (GWAS) were performed to date, the genetic cause of osteoporosis and fractures has not yet been found, and only a small fraction of high heritability of bone mass was successfully explained. GWAS is a successful tool to initially define and prioritize specific chromosomal regions showing associations with the desired traits or diseases. Following the initial discovery and replication, targeted sequencing is needed in order to detect those rare variants which GWAS does not reveal by design. Recent GWAS findings for BMD included WNT16 and MEF2C. The role of bone morphogenetic proteins in fracture healing has been explored by several groups, and new single-nucleotide polymorphisms present in genes such as NOGGIN and SMAD6 were found to be associated with a greater risk of fracture non-union. Finding new candidate genes, and mutations associated with BMD and fractures, also provided new biological connections. Thus, candidates for molecular link between bone metabolism and lactation (for example, RAP1A gene), as well as possible pleiotropic effects for bone and muscle (ACTN3 gene) were suggested. The focus of contemporary studies seems to move toward whole-genome sequencing, epigenetic and functional genomics strategies to find causal variants for osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC3727733  PMID: 23951496
Journal of Osteoporosis  2011;2011:243465.
Introduction. The association of bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) with BMD and risk of fracture was suggested by a recent linkage study, but subsequent studies have been contradictory. We report the results of a study of the relationship between BMP2 genotypes and BMD, annual change in BMD, and risk of fracture in male subjects. Materials and Methods. We tested three single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across the BMP2 gene, including Ser37Ala SNP, in 342 Caucasian Englishmen, comprising 224 control and 118 osteoporotic subjects. Results. BMP2 SNP1 (Ser37Ala) genotypes were found to have similar low frequency in control subjects and men with osteoporosis. The major informative polymorphism, BMP2 SNP3 (Arg190Ser), showed no statistically significant association with weight, height, BMD, change in BMD at hip or lumbar spine, and risk of fracture. Conclusion. There were no genotypic or haplotypic effects of the BMP2 candidate gene on BMD, change in BMD, or fracture risk identified in this cohort.
PMCID: PMC3195445  PMID: 22013543
BMC Medical Genetics  2007;8(Suppl 1):S14.
Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mass and compromised bone structure, heritable traits that contribute to fracture risk. There have been no genome-wide association and linkage studies for these traits using high-density genotyping platforms.
We used the Affymetrix 100K SNP GeneChip marker set in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) to examine genetic associations with ten primary quantitative traits: bone mineral density (BMD), calcaneal ultrasound, and geometric indices of the hip. To test associations with multivariable-adjusted residual trait values, we used additive generalized estimating equation (GEE) and family-based association tests (FBAT) models within each sex as well as sexes combined. We evaluated 70,987 autosomal SNPs with genotypic call rates ≥80%, HWE p ≥ 0.001, and MAF ≥10% in up to 1141 phenotyped individuals (495 men and 646 women, mean age 62.5 yrs). Variance component linkage analysis was performed using 11,200 markers.
Heritability estimates for all bone phenotypes were 30–66%. LOD scores ≥3.0 were found on chromosomes 15 (1.5 LOD confidence interval: 51,336,679–58,934,236 bp) and 22 (35,890,398–48,603,847 bp) for femoral shaft section modulus. The ten primary phenotypes had 12 associations with 100K SNPs in GEE models at p < 0.000001 and 2 associations in FBAT models at p < 0.000001. The 25 most significant p-values for GEE and FBAT were all less than 3.5 × 10-6 and 2.5 × 10-5, respectively. Of the 40 top SNPs with the greatest numbers of significantly associated BMD traits (including femoral neck, trochanter, and lumbar spine), one half to two-thirds were in or near genes that have not previously been studied for osteoporosis. Notably, pleiotropic associations between BMD and bone geometric traits were uncommon. Evidence for association (FBAT or GEE p < 0.05) was observed for several SNPs in candidate genes for osteoporosis, such as rs1801133 in MTHFR; rs1884052 and rs3778099 in ESR1; rs4988300 in LRP5; rs2189480 in VDR; rs2075555 in COLIA1; rs10519297 and rs2008691 in CYP19, as well as SNPs in PPARG (rs10510418 and rs2938392) and ANKH (rs2454873 and rs379016). All GEE, FBAT and linkage results are provided as an open-access results resource at .
The FHS 100K SNP project offers an unbiased genome-wide strategy to identify new candidate loci and to replicate previously suggested candidate genes for osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC1995606  PMID: 17903296
Fragility fractures caused by osteoporosis are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in aging populations. Bone mineral density (BMD) is a useful surrogate marker for risk of fracture and is a highly heritable trait. The genetic variants underlying this genetic contribution are largely unknown.
We performed a large-scale association study investigating more than 25,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located within 16,000 genes. Allele frequencies were estimated in contrasting DNA pools from white females selected for low (<0.87 g/cm2, n = 319) and high (> 1.11 g/cm2, n = 321) BMD at the lumbar spine. Significant findings were verified in two additional sample collections.
Based on allele frequency differences between DNA pools and subsequent individual genotyping, one of the candidate loci indicated was the phosphodiesterase 4D (PDE4D) gene region on chromosome 5q12. We subsequently tested the marker SNP, rs1498608, in a second sample of 138 white females with low (<0.91 g/cm2) and 138 females with high (>1.04 g/cm2) lumbar spine BMD. Odds ratios were 1.5 (P = 0.035) in the original sample and 2.1 (P = 0.018) in the replication sample. Association fine mapping with 80 SNPs located within 50 kilobases of the marker SNP identified a 20 kilobase region of association containing exon 6 of PDE4D. In a second, family-based replication sample with a preponderance of females with low BMD, rs1498608 showed an opposite relationship with BMD at different sites (p = 0.00044-0.09). We also replicated the previously reported association of the Ser37Ala polymorphism in BMP2, known to interact biologically with PDE4D, with BMD.
This study indicates that variants in the gene encoding PDE4D account for some of the genetic contribution to bone mineral density variation in humans. The contrasting results from different samples indicate that the effect may be context-dependent. PDE4 inhibitors have been shown to increase bone mass in normal and osteopenic mice, but up until now there have been no reports implicating any member of the PDE4 gene family in human osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC554993  PMID: 15752431
Lancet  2008;371(9623):1505-1512.
Osteoporosis is diagnosed by the measurement of bone mineral density, which is a highly heritable and multifactorial trait. We aimed to identify genetic loci that are associated with bone mineral density.
In this genome-wide association study, we identified the most promising of 314 075 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 2094 women in a UK study. We then tested these SNPs for replication in 6463 people from three other cohorts in western Europe. We also investigated allelic expression in lymphoblast cell lines. We tested the association between the replicated SNPs and osteoporotic fractures with data from two studies.
We identified genome-wide evidence for an association between bone mineral density and two SNPs (p<5×10−8). The SNPs were rs4355801, on chromosome 8, near to the TNFRSF11B (osteoprotegerin) gene, and rs3736228, on chromosome 11 in the LRP5 (lipoprotein-receptor-related protein) gene. A non-synonymous SNP in the LRP5 gene was associated with decreased bone mineral density (rs3736228, p=6·3×10−12 for lumbar spine and p=1·9×10−4 for femoral neck) and an increased risk of both osteoporotic fractures (odds ratio [OR] 1·3, 95% CI 1·09–1·52, p=0·002) and osteoporosis (OR 1·3, 1·08–1·63, p=0·008). Three SNPs near the TNFRSF11B gene were associated with decreased bone mineral density (top SNP, rs4355801: p=7·6×10−10 for lumbar spine and p=3·3×10−8 for femoral neck) and increased risk of osteoporosis (OR 1·2, 95% CI 1·01–1·42, p=0·038). For carriers of the risk allele at rs4355801, expression of TNFRSF11B in lymphoblast cell lines was halved (p=3·0×10−6). 1883 (22%) of 8557 people were at least heterozygous for these risk alleles, and these alleles had a cumulative association with bone mineral density (trend p=2·3×10−17). The presence of both risk alleles increased the risk of osteoporotic fractures (OR 1·3, 1·08–1·63, p=0·006) and this effect was independent of bone mineral density.
Two gene variants of key biological proteins increase the risk of osteoporosis and osteoporotic fracture. The combined effect of these risk alleles on fractures is similar to that of most well-replicated environmental risk factors, and they are present in more than one in five white people, suggesting a potential role in screening.
Wellcome Trust, European Commission, NWO Investments, Arthritis Research Campaign, Chronic Disease Research Foundation, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis, Genome Canada, Genome Quebéc, Canada Research Chairs, National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, and European Union.
PMCID: PMC2679414  PMID: 18455228
Lancet  2008;371(9623):1505-1512.
Osteoporosis is diagnosed by the measurement of bone mineral density, which is a highly heritable and multifactorial trait. We aimed to identify genetic loci that are associated with bone mineral density.
In this genome-wide association study, we identified the most promising of 314 075 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 2094 women in a UK study. We then tested these SNPs for replication in 6463 people from three other cohorts in western Europe. We also investigated allelic expression in lymphoblast cell lines. We tested the association between the replicated SNPs and osteoporotic fractures with data from two studies.
We identified genome-wide evidence for an association between bone mineral density and two SNPs (p<5×10−8). The SNPs were rs4355801, on chromosome 8, near to the TNFRSF11B (osteoprotegerin) gene, and rs3736228, on chromosome 11 in the LRP5 (lipoprotein-receptor-related protein) gene. A non-synonymous SNP in the LRP5 gene was associated with decreased bone mineral density (rs3736228, p=6·3×10−12 for lumbar spine and p=1·9×10−4 for femoral neck) and an increased risk of both osteoporotic fractures (odds ratio [OR] 1·3, 95% CI 1·09–1·52, p=0·002) and osteoporosis (OR 1·3, 1·08–1·63, p=0·008). Three SNPs near the TNFRSF11B gene were associated with decreased bone mineral density (top SNP, rs4355801: p=7·6×10−10 for lumbar spine and p=3·3×10−8 for femoral neck) and increased risk of osteoporosis (OR 1·2, 95% CI 1·01–1·42, p=0·038). For carriers of the risk allele at rs4355801, expression of TNFRSF11B in lymphoblast cell lines was halved (p=3·0×10−6). 1883 (22%) of 8557 people were at least heterozygous for these risk alleles, and these alleles had a cumulative association with bone mineral density (trend p=2·3×10−17). The presence of both risk alleles increased the risk of osteoporotic fractures (OR 1·3, 1·08–1·63, p=0·006) and this effect was independent of bone mineral density.
Two gene variants of key biological proteins increase the risk of osteoporosis and osteoporotic fracture. The combined effect of these risk alleles on fractures is similar to that of most well-replicated environmental risk factors, and they are present in more than one in five white people, suggesting a potential role in screening.
PMCID: PMC2679414  PMID: 18455228
Bone  2010;46(4):1114-1121.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) using high-density array of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) offer an unbiased strategy to identify new candidate genes for osteoporosis.
We used a subset of autosomal SNPs from the Affymetrix 500K+50K SNP GeneChip marker set to examine genetic linkage with multiple highly heritable osteoporosis-related traits, including BMD of the hip and spine, heel ultrasound (attenuation and speed of sound), and geometric indices of the hip, in two generations from the Framingham Osteoporosis Study. Variance component linkage analysis was performed using normalized residuals (adjusted for age, height, BMI, and estrogen status in women).
Multipoint linkage analyses produced LOD scores ≥ 3.0 for BMD on chromosomes (chr.) 9 and 11, and for ultrasound speed of sound on chr. 5. Hip geometric traits were linked with higher LOD scores, such as with Shaft Width on chr. 4 (LOD = 3.9) and chr. 16 (LOD = 3.8), and with Shaft section modulus on chr. 22 (LOD = 4.0). LOD score ≥ 5.0 was obtained for femoral Neck Width on chr. 7.
In conclusion, with a SNP-based linkage approach, we identified several novel potential QTLs and confirmed previously identified chromosomal regions linked to bone mass and geometry. Subsequent focus on the spectrum of genetic polymorphisms in these refined regions may contribute to finding variants predisposing to osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC2842472  PMID: 20064633
quantitative trait loci; BMD; bone geometry; osteoporosis; SNP array
In contrast to conventional dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, quantitative computed tomography separately measures trabecular and cortical volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD). Little is known about the genetic variants associated with trabecular and cortical vBMD in humans, although both may be important for determining bone strength and osteoporotic risk. In the current analysis, we tested the hypothesis that there are genetic variants associated with trabecular and cortical vBMD at the femoral neck by genotyping 4608 tagging and potentially functional single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 383 bone metabolism candidate genes in 822 Caucasian men aged 65 years or older from the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Study (MrOS). Promising SNP associations then were tested for replication in an additional 1155 men from the same study. We identified SNPs in five genes (IFNAR2, NFATC1, SMAD1, HOXA, and KLF10) that were robustly associated with cortical vBMD and SNPs in nine genes (APC, ATF2, BMP3, BMP7, FGF18, FLT1, TGFB3, THRB, and RUNX1) that were robustly associated with trabecular vBMD. There was no overlap between genes associated with cortical vBMD and trabecular vBMD. These findings identify novel genetic variants for cortical and trabecular vBMD and raise the possibility that some genetic loci may be unique for each bone compartment. © 2010 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research
PMCID: PMC3153388  PMID: 19619005
osteoporosis; Genetics; BMD; men; qCT
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(4):e90.
Osteoporosis and fracture risk are considered to be under genetic control. Extensive work is being performed to identify the exact genetic variants that determine this risk. Previous work has suggested that a G/T polymorphism affecting an Sp1 binding site in the COLIA1 gene is a genetic marker for low bone mineral density (BMD) and osteoporotic fracture, but there have been no very-large-scale studies of COLIA1 alleles in relation to these phenotypes.
Methods and Findings
Here we evaluated the role of COLIA1 Sp1 alleles as a predictor of BMD and fracture in a multicenter study involving 20,786 individuals from several European countries. At the femoral neck, the average (95% confidence interval [CI]) BMD values were 25 mg/cm 2 (CI, 16 to 34 mg/cm 2) lower in TT homozygotes than the other genotype groups ( p < 0.001), and a similar difference was observed at the lumbar spine; 21 mg/cm 2 (CI, 1 to 42 mg/cm 2), ( p = 0.039). These associations were unaltered after adjustment for potential confounding factors. There was no association with fracture overall (odds ratio [OR] = 1.01 [CI, 0.95 to 1.08]) in either unadjusted or adjusted analyses, but there was a non-significant trend for association with vertebral fracture and a nominally significant association with incident vertebral fractures in females (OR = 1.33 [CI, 1.00 to 1.77]) that was independent of BMD, and unaltered in adjusted analyses.
Allowing for the inevitable heterogeneity between participating teams, this study—which to our knowledge is the largest ever performed in the field of osteoporosis genetics for a single gene—demonstrates that the COLIA1 Sp1 polymorphism is associated with reduced BMD and could predispose to incident vertebral fractures in women, independent of BMD. The associations we observed were modest however, demonstrating the importance of conducting studies that are adequately powered to detect and quantify the effects of common genetic variants on complex diseases.
A large collaborative European study finds only weak links between a much studied potential genetic risk factor and bone mineral density or fracture risk.
PMCID: PMC1370920  PMID: 16475872
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47964.
Osteoclast activity and the fine balance between bone formation and resorption is affected by inflammatory factors such as cytokines and T lymphocyte activity, mediated by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules, in turn regulated by the MHC class II transactivator (MHC2TA). We investigated the effect of functional polymorphisms in the MHC2TA gene (CIITA), and two additional genes; C-type lectin domain 16A (CLEC16A), in linkage disequilibrium with CIITA and Interferon-γ (IFNG), an inducer of CIITA; on bone density, bone resorption markers, bone loss and fracture risk in 75 year-old women followed for up to 10 years (OPRA n = 1003) and in young adult women (PEAK-25 n = 999). CIITA was associated with BMD at age 75 (lumbar spine p = 0.011; femoral neck (FN) p = 0.049) and age 80 (total body p = 0.015; total hip p = 0.042; FN p = 0.028). Carriers of the CIITA rs3087456(G) allele had 1.8–3.4% higher BMD and displayed increased rate of bone loss between age 75 and 80 (FN p = 0.013; total hip p = 0.030; total body p = 3.8E−5). Despite increasing bone loss, the rs3087456(G) allele was protective against incident fracture overall (p = 0.002), osteoporotic fracture and hip fracture. Carriers of CLEC16A and IFNG variant alleles had lower BMD (p<0.05) and ultrasound parameters and a lower risk of incident fracture (CLEC16A, p = 0.011). In 25-year old women, none of the genes were associated with BMD. In conclusion, variation in inflammatory genes CIITA, CLEC-16A and INFG appear to contribute to bone phenotypes in elderly women and suggest a role for low-grade inflammation and MHC class II expression for osteoporosis pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3485004  PMID: 23133532
Bone  2009;45(3):443-448.
A major predictor of age-related osteoporotic fracture is peak areal bone mineral density (aBMD) which is a highly heritable trait. However, few linkage and association studies have been performed in men to identify the genes contributing to normal variation in aBMD. The aim of this study was to perform a genome wide scan in healthy men to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) that were significantly linked to aBMD and to test whether any of these might be sex-specific.
aBMD at the spine and hip were measured in 515 pairs of brothers, aged 18-61 (405 white pairs, 110 black pairs). Linkage analysis in the brother sample was compared with results in a previously published sample of 774 sister pairs to identify sex-specific quantitative trait loci (QTL).
A genome wide scan identified significant QTL (LOD>3.6) for aBMD on chromosomes 4q21 (hip), 7q34 (spine), 14q32 (hip), 19p13 (hip), 21q21 (hip), and 22q13 (hip). Analysis suggested that the QTL on chromosome 7q34, 14q32, and 21q21 were male-specific whereas the others were not sex-specific.
This study demonstrates that six QTL were significantly linked with aBMD in men. One was linked to spine and five were linked to hip. When compared to published data in women from the same geographical region, the QTL on chromosomes 7, 14 and 21 were male-specific. The occurrence of sex-specific genes in humans for aBMD has important implications for the pathogenesis and treatment of osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC2725190  PMID: 19427925
men; sex- specific QTL; genome-wide scan; linkage
Calcified tissue international  2008;83(3):155-166.
Candidate osteoporosis gene variants were examined for associations with fracture risk and bone mineral density (BMD). A total of 9704 white women were recruited at four U.S. clinical centers and enrolled into the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures, a longitudinal cohort study. Genotyping of 31 polymorphisms from 18 candidate osteoporosis genes was performed in 6752 women. Incident radiographic fractures were identified at the third and eighth examinations compared with the baseline examination. BMD was measured at the total hip by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Analyses were adjusted for age, clinic site, and self-reported ethnicity. During a mean follow-up of 14.5 years, a total of 849 hip, 658 vertebral, and 2496 nonhip/nonvertebral fractures occurred in 6752 women. Women carrying the ALOX15_G48924T T/T genotype had a higher rate of hip fracture (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.33;95% confidence interval [95% CI] = 1.00–1.77) compared with the G/G genotype. Compared with those carrying the PRL_T228C T/T genotype, women with either the C/C (HR = 0.80; 95% CI = 0.67–0.95) or C/T (HR = 0.81; 95% CI = 0.68–0.97) genotype had a lower rate of nonvertebral/nonhip fractures. Women carrying theBMP2_A125611G G/G genotype had a higher rate of vertebral fracture (odds ratio [OR] = 1.51; 95% CI = 1.03–2.23) compared with the A/A genotype. Women with the ESR1_C1335G G/G genotype had a higher rate of vertebral fracture (OR = 1.64; 95% CI = 1.07–2.50) compared with the C/C genotype. Compared with those with the MMP2_C595T C/C genotype, women with the C/T (OR = 0.79; 95% CI = 0.65–0.96) or T/T (OR = 0.44; 95% CI = 0.27–0.72) genotype had a lower rate of vertebral fracture. In conclusion, polymorphisms in several candidate genes were associated with hip, vertebral, and nonhip/nonvertebral fractures but not with total hip BMD in this large population based cohort study.
PMCID: PMC2699257  PMID: 18787887
Genetics; Polymorphism; Osteoporosis; BMD; Fracture
A major determinant of osteoporotic fractures is peak bone mineral density (BMD), which is a highly heritable trait. Recently, we identified significant linkage for hip BMD in premenopausal sister pairs at chromosome 14q (LOD score = 3.5), where the estrogen receptor β gene (ESR2) is located.
The objective of the study was to determine whether ESR2 polymorphisms are associated with normal BMD variation.
This was a population‐based genetic association study, using 11 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) distributed across the ESR2 gene.
The study was conducted at an academic research laboratory and medical center.
Patients and Other Participants
A total of 411 healthy men (aged 18–61 yr) and 1291 healthy premenopausal women (aged 20–50 yr) living in Indiana participated in the study.
There were no interventions.
Main Outcome Measure(s)
The main outcome measures were SNP genotype distributions and their association with BMD at the femoral neck and lumbar spine.
Significant association of spine BMD was found with three SNPs in men and one SNP in women (P ≤ 0.05). The conditional linkage analysis using the ESR2 haplotypes showed that the ESR2 gene accounts for, at most, 18% of the original linkage.
ESR2 polymorphisms are significantly associated with bone mass in both men and women. However, the ESR2 gene is not entirely responsible for our original linkage, and an additional gene(s) in chromosome 14q contributes to the determination of BMD.
PMCID: PMC1948071  PMID: 16118344
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(4):e1001372.
Osteoporotic fracture is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Low bone mineral density (BMD) is a major predisposing factor to fracture and is known to be highly heritable. Site-, gender-, and age-specific genetic effects on BMD are thought to be significant, but have largely not been considered in the design of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of BMD to date. We report here a GWAS using a novel study design focusing on women of a specific age (postmenopausal women, age 55–85 years), with either extreme high or low hip BMD (age- and gender-adjusted BMD z-scores of +1.5 to +4.0, n = 1055, or −4.0 to −1.5, n = 900), with replication in cohorts of women drawn from the general population (n = 20,898). The study replicates 21 of 26 known BMD–associated genes. Additionally, we report suggestive association of a further six new genetic associations in or around the genes CLCN7, GALNT3, IBSP, LTBP3, RSPO3, and SOX4, with replication in two independent datasets. A novel mouse model with a loss-of-function mutation in GALNT3 is also reported, which has high bone mass, supporting the involvement of this gene in BMD determination. In addition to identifying further genes associated with BMD, this study confirms the efficiency of extreme-truncate selection designs for quantitative trait association studies.
Author Summary
Osteoporotic fracture is a major cause of early mortality and morbidity in the community. To identify genes associated with osteoporosis, we have performed a genome-wide association study. In order to improve study power and to address the demographic group of highest risk from osteoporotic fracture, we have used a unique study design, studying 1,955 postmenopausal women with either extreme high or low hip bone mineral density. We then confirmed our findings in 20,898 women from the general population. Our study replicated 21 of 26 known osteoporosis genes, and it identified a further six novel loci (in or nearby CLCN7, GALNT3, IBSP, LTBP3, RSPO3, and SOX4). For one of these loci, GALTN3, we demonstrate in a mouse model that a loss-of-function genetic mutation in GALNT3 causes high bone mass. These findings report novel mechanisms by which osteoporosis can arise, and they significantly add to our understanding of the aetiology of the disease.
PMCID: PMC3080863  PMID: 21533022
Sex steroids are important regulators of bone physiology and play an essential role in the maintenance of bone health throughout the life. Hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) is a treatment commonly used to relieve symptoms and some undesirable consequences of menopause such as osteoporosis. Osteoporosis, characterized by the loss of bone mass and deterioration of microarchitecture with a consequent higher risk of fragility fractures, is under genetic influence. A tetranucleotide (TTTA)n microsatellite repeat polymorphism, at intron 4 of the CYP19 (aromatase) gene, has been previously associated with higher lumbar spine bone mineral density (LS-BMD) and lower risk of spine fracture in postmenopausal women. Moreover, the ERα encoded by the ESR1 gene is another important candidate for the regulation of bone mass of menopause. Moreover prospective analysis from >18.000 subjects at the GENOMOS study indicated that XX homozygotes genotype had a reduced risk of fracture independently from BMD.
In the present study, we investigated in postmenopausal Italian women, at baseline and after 1 year of HRT, whether ESR1 and CYP19 gene polymorphisms could affect BMD through different statistical models.
This study has been performed on 100 post-menopausal Italian women, from a larger group of 250. The study group was administred HRT and LS-BMD was measured at baseline and after 1 year of therapy. Genetic analysis evaluating ESR1 and CYP19 gene polymorphisms was performed.
Generalized Linear Models (GLMs) test showed that women with normal LS-BMD at the baseline had a major statistically significant BMD increase of 0.1426 gr/cm2 (p= 0.0001) with respect to the osteoporotic patients. In addition, subjects with genotype 1 and 2 of CYP19 gene had a lower modification in LS-BMD after 1 year of HRT (0.0837 gr/cm2 and 0,076 g/cm2; p=0.0470 and 0,0547 respectively) when compared to genotype 3. No influences of the aromatase genotypes were observed in the variable difference using both Anova and GLMs test. Regarding the ESR1 gene polymorphism, the LS-BMD after 1 year of HRT was influenced by the diagnosis at the baseline and height and ERα genotypes were able to influence difference with statistical significant results with both test.
In the present study, we have demonstrated that CYP19 gene polymorphism is able to influence the effect of 1 year HRT on LS-BMD with no influence on pre-/ and post-/HRT LS-BMD differences. Although ESR1 gene polymorphism is not able to influence the LS-BMD after 1 year HRT, it influences the observed modifications during the year of therapy. These data underlie the complexity of the genetics of the bone mass and its importance in influencing the response to HRT.
PMCID: PMC4064439  PMID: 25002878
CYP19 gene; ESR1 gene; polymorphism; Hormonal Replace Therapy (HRT)
Jama  2008;299(11):1277-1290.
Mutations in the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 5 (LRP5) gene cause rare syndromes characterized by altered bone mineral density (BMD). More common LRP5 variants may affect osteoporosis risk in the general population.
To generate large-scale evidence on whether 2 common variants of LRP5 (Val667Met, Ala1330Val) and 1 variant of LRP6 (Ile1062Val) are associated with BMD and fracture risk.
Design and Setting
Prospective, multicenter, collaborative study of individual-level data on 37 534 individuals from 18 participating teams in Europe and North America. Data were collected between September 2004 and January 2007; analysis of the collected data was performed between February and May 2007. Bone mineral density was assessed by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Fractures were identified via questionnaire, medical records, or radiographic documentation; incident fracture data were available for some cohorts, ascertained via routine surveillance methods, including radiographic examination for vertebral fractures.
Main Outcome Measures
Bone mineral density of the lumbar spine and femoral neck; prevalence of all fractures and vertebral fractures.
The Met667 allele of LRP5 was associated with reduced lumbar spine BMD (n =25 052 [number of participants with available data]; 20-mg/cm2 lower BMD per Met667 allele copy; P=3.3 × 10−8), as was the Val1330 allele (n = 24 812; 14-mg/cm2 lower BMD per Val1330 copy; P=2.6 × 10−9). Similar effects were observed for femoral neck BMD, with a decrease of 11 mg/cm2 (P =3.8 × 10−5) and 8 mg/cm2 (P=5.0×10−6) for the Met667 and Val1330 alleles, respectively (n=25 193). Findings were consistent across studies for both LRP5 alleles. Both alleles were associated with vertebral fractures (odds ratio [OR], 1.26; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.08–1.47 for Met667 [2001 fractures among 20 488 individuals] and OR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.01–1.24 for Val1330 [1988 fractures among 20 096 individuals]). Risk of all fractures was also increased with Met667 (OR, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.05–1.24 per allele [7876 fractures among 31 435 individuals)]) and Val1330 (OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.01–1.12 per allele [7802 fractures among 31 199 individuals]). Effects were similar when adjustments were made for age, weight, height, menopausal status, and use of hormone therapy. Fracture risks were partly attenuated by adjustment for BMD. Haplotype analysis indicated that Met667 and Val1330 variants both independently affected BMD. The LRP6 Ile1062Val polymorphism was not associated with any osteoporosis phenotype. All aforementioned associations except that between Val1330 and all fractures and vertebral fractures remained significant after multiple-comparison adjustments.
Common LRP5 variants are consistently associated with BMD and fracture risk across different white populations. The magnitude of the effect is modest. LRP5 may be the first gene to reach a genome-wide significance level (a conservative level of significance [herein, unadjusted P<10−7] that accounts for the many possible comparisons in the human genome) for a phenotype related to osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC3282142  PMID: 18349089
Annals of internal medicine  2009;151(8):528-537.
Osteoporosis is a highly heritable trait. Many candidate genes have been proposed as being involved in regulating bone mineral density (BMD). Few of these findings have been replicated in independent studies.
To assess the relationship between BMD and fracture and all common single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in previously proposed osteoporosis candidate genes.
Large-scale meta-analysis of genome-wide association data.
5 international, multicenter, population-based studies.
Data on BMD were obtained from 19 195 participants (14 277 women) from 5 populations of European origin. Data on fracture were obtained from a prospective cohort (n = 5974) from the Netherlands.
Systematic literature review using the Human Genome Epidemiology Navigator identified autosomal genes previously evaluated for association with osteoporosis. We explored the common SNPs arising from the haplotype map of the human genome (HapMap) across all these genes. BMD at the femoral neck and lumbar spine was measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Fractures were defined as clinically apparent, site-specific, validated nonvertebral and vertebral low-energy fractures.
150 candidate genes were identified and 36 016 SNPs in these loci were assessed. SNPs from 9 gene loci (ESR1, LRP4, ITGA1, LRP5, SOST, SPP1, TNFRSF11A, TNFRSF11B, and TN-FSF11) were associated with BMD at either site. For most genes, no SNP was statistically significant. For statistically significant SNPs (n = 241), effect sizes ranged from 0.04 to 0.18 SD per allele. SNPs from the LRP5, SOST, SPP1, and TNFRSF11A loci were significantly associated with fracture risk; odds ratios ranged from 1.13 to 1.43 per allele. These effects on fracture were partially independent of BMD at SPP1 and SOST.
Only common polymorphisms in linkage disequilibrium with SNPs in HapMap could be assessed, and previously reported associations for SNPs in some candidate genes could not be excluded.
In this large-scale collaborative genome-wide meta-analysis, 9 of 150 candidate genes were associated with regulation of BMD, 4 of which also significantly affected risk for fracture. However, most candidate genes had no consistent association with BMD.
Primary Funding Source
European Union, Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, Research Institute for Diseases in the Elderly, Netherlands Genomics Initiative, Wellcome Trust, National Institutes of Health, deCODE Genetics, and Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
PMCID: PMC2842981  PMID: 19841454
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e22462.
Susceptibility to osteoporotic fracture is influenced by genetic factors that can be dissected by whole-genome linkage analysis in experimental animal crosses. The aim of this study was to characterize quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for biomechanical and two-dimensional dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) phenotypes in reciprocal F2 crosses between diabetic GK and normo-glycemic F344 rat strains and to identify possible co-localization with previously reported QTLs for bone size and structure. The biomechanical measurements of rat tibia included ultimate force, stiffness and work to failure while DXA was used to characterize tibial area, bone mineral content (BMC) and areal bone mineral density (aBMD). F2 progeny (108 males, 98 females) were genotyped with 192 genome-wide markers followed by sex- and reciprocal cross-separated whole-genome QTL analyses. Significant QTLs were identified on chromosome 8 (tibial area; logarithm of odds (LOD) = 4.7 and BMC; LOD = 4.1) in males and on chromosome 1 (stiffness; LOD = 5.5) in females. No QTLs showed significant sex-specific interactions. In contrast, significant cross-specific interactions were identified on chromosome 2 (aBMD; LOD = 4.7) and chromosome 6 (BMC; LOD = 4.8) for males carrying F344mtDNA, and on chromosome 15 (ultimate force; LOD = 3.9) for males carrying GKmtDNA, confirming the effect of reciprocal cross on osteoporosis-related phenotypes. By combining identified QTLs for biomechanical-, size- and qualitative phenotypes (pQCT and 3D CT) from the same population, overlapping regions were detected on chromosomes 1, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 10. These are strong candidate regions in the search for genetic risk factors for osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC3144887  PMID: 21818327
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0117102.
DDR2 gene, playing an essential role in regulating osteoblast differentiation and chondrocyte maturation, may influence bone mineral density (BMD) and osteoporosis, but the genetic variations actually leading to the association remain to be elucidated. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate whether the genetic variants in DDR2 are associated with BMD and fracture risk. This study was performed in three samples from two ethnicities, including 1,300 Chinese Han subjects, 700 Chinese Han subjects (350 with osteoporotic hip fractures and 350 healthy controls) and 2,286 US white subjects. Twenty-eight SNPs in DDR2 were genotyped and tested for associations with hip BMD and fractures. We identified 3 SNPs in DDR2 significantly associated with hip BMD in the Chinese population after multiple testing adjustments, which were rs7521233 (P = 1.06×10−4, β: −0.018 for allele C), rs7553831 (P = 1.30×10−4, β: −0.018 for allele T), and rs6697469 (P = 1.59×10−3, β: −0.015 for allele C), separately. These three SNPs were in high linkage disequilibrium. Haplotype analyses detected two significantly associated haplotypes, including one haplotype in block 2 (P = 9.54×10−4, β: −0.016) where these three SNPs located. SNP rs6697469 was also associated with hip fractures (P = 0.043, OR: 1.42) in the Chinese population. The effect on fracture risk was consistent with its association with lower BMD. However, in the white population, we didn’t observe significant associations with hip BMD. eQTL analyses revealed that SNPs associated with BMD also affected DDR2 mRNA expression levels in Chinese. Our findings, together with the prior biological evidence, suggest that DDR2 could be a new candidate for osteoporosis in Chinese population. Our results also reveal an ethnic difference, which highlights the need for further genetic studies in each ethnic group.
PMCID: PMC4319719  PMID: 25658585

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