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1.  High Bone Mineral Density and Fracture Risk in Type 2 Diabetes as Skeletal Complications of Inadequate Glucose Control 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(6):1619-1628.
Individuals with type 2 diabetes have increased fracture risk despite higher bone mineral density (BMD). Our aim was to examine the influence of glucose control on skeletal complications.
Data of 4,135 participants of the Rotterdam Study, a prospective population-based cohort, were available (mean follow-up 12.2 years). At baseline, 420 participants with type 2 diabetes were classified by glucose control (according to HbA1c calculated from fructosamine), resulting in three comparison groups: adequately controlled diabetes (ACD; n = 203; HbA1c <7.5%), inadequately controlled diabetes (ICD; n = 217; HbA1c ≥7.5%), and no diabetes (n = 3,715). Models adjusted for sex, age, height, and weight (and femoral neck BMD) were used to test for differences in bone parameters and fracture risk (hazard ratio [HR] [95% CI]).
The ICD group had 1.1–5.6% higher BMD, 4.6–5.6% thicker cortices, and −1.2 to −1.8% narrower femoral necks than ACD and ND, respectively. Participants with ICD had 47–62% higher fracture risk than individuals without diabetes (HR 1.47 [1.12–1.92]) and ACD (1.62 [1.09–2.40]), whereas those with ACD had a risk similar to those without diabetes (0.91 [0.67–1.23]).
Poor glycemic control in type 2 diabetes is associated with fracture risk, high BMD, and thicker femoral cortices in narrower bones. We postulate that fragility in apparently “strong” bones in ICD can result from microcrack accumulation and/or cortical porosity, reflecting impaired bone repair.
PMCID: PMC3661786  PMID: 23315602
2.  A Genome-Wide Association Study identifies a locus on chromosome 7q22 to influence susceptibility for osteoarthritis 
Arthritis and Rheumatism  2010;62(2):499-510.
To identify genes involved in osteoarthritis (OA), the most prevalent form of joint disease, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in which we tested 500,510 Single Nucelotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in 1341 OA cases and 3496 Dutch Caucasian controls. SNPs associated with at least two OA-phenotypes were analysed in 14,938 OA cases and approximately 39,000 controls. The C-allele of rs3815148 on chromosome 7q22 (MAF 23%, 172 kb upstream of the GPR22 gene) was consistently associated with a 1.14-fold increased risk (95%CI: 1.09–1.19) for knee- and/or hand-OA (p=8×10−8), and also with a 30% increased risk for knee-OA progression (95%CI: 1.03–1.64, p=0.03). This SNP is in almost complete linkage disequilibrium with rs3757713 (located 68 kb upstream of GPR22) which is associated with GPR22 expression levels in lymphoblast cell lines (p=4×10−12). GPR22 encodes an G-protein coupled receptor with unkown ligand (orphan receptor). Immunohistochemistry experiments showed absence of GPR22 in normal mouse articular cartilage or synovium. However, GPR22 positive chondrocytes were found in the upper layers of the articular cartilage of mouse knee joints that were challenged by in vivo papain treatment or in the presence of interleukin-1 driven inflammation. GRP22 positive chondrocyte-like cells were also found in osteophytes in instability-induced OA. In addition, GPR22 is also present in areas of the brain involved in locomotor function. Our findings reveal a novel common variant on chromosome 7q22 to influence susceptibility for prevalence and progression of OA.
PMCID: PMC3354739  PMID: 20112360
3.  Recommendations for standardization and phenotype definitions in genetic studies of osteoarthritis: the TREAT-OA consortium 
To address the need for standardization of osteoarthritis (OA) phenotypes by examining the effect of heterogeneity among symptomatic (SOA) and radiographic osteoarthritis (ROA) phenotypes.
Descriptions of OA phenotypes of the 28 studies involved in the TREAT-OA consortium were collected. To investigate whether different OA definitions result in different association results, we created hip OA definitions used within the consortium in the Rotterdam Study-I and tested the association of hip OA with gender, age and BMI using one-way ANOVA. For radiographic OA, we standardized the hip, knee and hand ROA definitions and calculated prevalence's of ROA before and after standardization in 9 cohort studies. This procedure could only be performed in cohort studies and standardization of SOA definitions was not feasible at this moment.
In this consortium, all studies with symptomatic OA phenotypes (knee, hip and hand) used a different definition and/or assessment of OA status. For knee, hip and hand radiographic OA 5, 4 and 7 different definitions were used, respectively. Different hip OA definitions do lead to different association results. For example, we showed in the Rotterdam Study-I that hip OA defined as “at least definite JSN and one definite osteophyte” was not associated with gender (p=0.22), but defined as “at least one definite osteophyte” was significantly associated with gender (p=3×10−9). Therefore, a standardization process was undertaken for radiographic OA definitions. Before standardization a wide range of ROA prevalence's was observed in the 9 cohorts studied. After standardization the range in prevalence of knee and hip ROA was small. Standardization of SOA phenotypes was not possible due to the case-control design of the studies.
Phenotype definitions influence the prevalence of OA and association with clinical variables. ROA phenotypes within the TREAT-OA consortium were standardized to reduce heterogeneity and improve power in future genetics studies.
PMCID: PMC3236091  PMID: 21059398
4.  SIRT1 Genetic Variation Is Related to BMI and Risk of Obesity 
Diabetes  2009;58(12):2828-2834.
SIRT1 has pleiotropic metabolic functions. We investigated whether SIRT1 genetic variation is associated with obesity.
In 6,251 elderly subjects from the prospective, population-based Rotterdam Study, three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the SIRT1 gene were studied in relation to BMI and risk of obesity (BMI ≥30 kg/m2) and prospectively with BMI change after 6.4 years of follow-up. We used cross-sectional data from 2,347 participants from the Erasmus Rucphen Family (ERF) study for replication.
Minor alleles of rs7895833 (G = 20.2%) and rs1467568 (A = 36.8%) were associated with lower BMI in the Rotterdam Study (P = 0.02 and 0.04) and in the replication cohort ERF study (P = 0.03 and 0.008) and in both studies combined (P = 0.002 for both SNPs), with a 0.2–0.4 kg/m2 decrease in BMI per allele copy. Carriers of these alleles had 13–18% decreased risk of obesity (for rs7895833 in the Rotterdam Study: odds ratio 0.79 [95% CI 0.67–0.94], P = 0.007; in the ERF study: 0.93 [0.73–1.19], P = 0.37; and in the studies combined 0.87 [0.77–0.97], P = 0.02; for rs1467568 in the Rotterdam Study: 0.80 [0.68–0.94], P = 0.007; in the ERF study: 0.85 [0.72–0.99], P = 0.04; and in the studies combined: 0.82 [0.73–0.92], P = 0.0009). In the Rotterdam Study, the two variants were also associated with a lower BMI increase during 6.4 years of follow-up (P = 0.01 and 0.08).
Two common variants in SIRT1 are associated with lower BMI in two independent Dutch populations. Carriers of these variants have 13–18% decreased risk of obesity and gain less weight over time. The availability of SIRT1 stimulators makes these findings relevant in light of the growing obesity epidemic.
PMCID: PMC2780870  PMID: 19741164
5.  Twenty bone mineral density loci identified by large-scale meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies 
Nature genetics  2009;41(11):1199-1206.
Bone mineral density (BMD) is a heritable complex trait used in the clinical diagnosis of osteoporosis and the assessment of fracture risk. We performed meta-analysis of five genome-wide association studies of femoral neck and lumbar spine BMD in 19,195 subjects of Northern European descent. We identified 20 loci reaching genome-wide significance (GWS; P<5×10−8), of which 13 map to new regions including 1p31.3 (GPR177), 2p21 (SPTBN1), 3p22 (CTNNB1), 4q21.1 (MEPE), 5q14 (MEF2C), 7p14 (STARD3NL), 7q21.3 (FLJ42280), 11p11.2 (LRP4; ARHGAP1; F2), 11p14.1 (DCDC5), 11p15 (SOX6), 16q24 (FOXL1), 17q21 (HDAC5) and 17q12 (CRHR1). The metaanalysis also confirmed at GWS level, seven known BMD loci on 1p36 (ZBTB40), 6q25 (ESR1), 8q24 (TNFRSF11B), 11q13.4 (LRP5), 12q13 (SP7), 13q14 (TNFSF11), and 18q21 (TNFRSF11A). The numerous SNPs associated with BMD map to genes in signaling pathways with relevance to bone metabolism, and highlight the complex genetic architecture underlying osteoporosis and BMD variation.
PMCID: PMC2783489  PMID: 19801982
6.  Collaborative Meta-analysis: Associations of 150 Candidate Genes With Osteoporosis and Osteoporotic Fracture 
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
7.  Genome-wide meta-analysis identifies 56 bone mineral density loci and reveals 14 loci associated with risk of fracture 
Estrada, Karol | Styrkarsdottir, Unnur | Evangelou, Evangelos | Hsu, Yi-Hsiang | Duncan, Emma L | Ntzani, Evangelia E | Oei, Ling | Albagha, Omar M E | Amin, Najaf | Kemp, John P | Koller, Daniel L | Li, Guo | Liu, Ching-Ti | Minster, Ryan L | Moayyeri, Alireza | Vandenput, Liesbeth | Willner, Dana | Xiao, Su-Mei | Yerges-Armstrong, Laura M | Zheng, Hou-Feng | Alonso, Nerea | Eriksson, Joel | Kammerer, Candace M | Kaptoge, Stephen K | Leo, Paul J | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Wilson, Scott G | Wilson, James F | Aalto, Ville | Alen, Markku | Aragaki, Aaron K | Aspelund, Thor | Center, Jacqueline R | Dailiana, Zoe | Duggan, David J | Garcia, Melissa | Garcia-Giralt, Natàlia | Giroux, Sylvie | Hallmans, Göran | Hocking, Lynne J | Husted, Lise Bjerre | Jameson, Karen A | Khusainova, Rita | Kim, Ghi Su | Kooperberg, Charles | Koromila, Theodora | Kruk, Marcin | Laaksonen, Marika | Lacroix, Andrea Z | Lee, Seung Hun | Leung, Ping C | Lewis, Joshua R | Masi, Laura | Mencej-Bedrac, Simona | Nguyen, Tuan V | Nogues, Xavier | Patel, Millan S | Prezelj, Janez | Rose, Lynda M | Scollen, Serena | Siggeirsdottir, Kristin | Smith, Albert V | Svensson, Olle | Trompet, Stella | Trummer, Olivia | van Schoor, Natasja M | Woo, Jean | Zhu, Kun | Balcells, Susana | Brandi, Maria Luisa | Buckley, Brendan M | Cheng, Sulin | Christiansen, Claus | Cooper, Cyrus | Dedoussis, George | Ford, Ian | Frost, Morten | Goltzman, David | González-Macías, Jesús | Kähönen, Mika | Karlsson, Magnus | Khusnutdinova, Elza | Koh, Jung-Min | Kollia, Panagoula | Langdahl, Bente Lomholt | Leslie, William D | Lips, Paul | Ljunggren, Östen | Lorenc, Roman S | Marc, Janja | Mellström, Dan | Obermayer-Pietsch, Barbara | Olmos, José M | Pettersson-Kymmer, Ulrika | Reid, David M | Riancho, José A | Ridker, Paul M | Rousseau, François | Slagboom, P Eline | Tang, Nelson LS | Urreizti, Roser | Van Hul, Wim | Viikari, Jorma | Zarrabeitia, María T | Aulchenko, Yurii S | Castano-Betancourt, Martha | Grundberg, Elin | Herrera, Lizbeth | Ingvarsson, Thorvaldur | Johannsdottir, Hrefna | Kwan, Tony | Li, Rui | Luben, Robert | Medina-Gómez, Carolina | Palsson, Stefan Th | Reppe, Sjur | Rotter, Jerome I | Sigurdsson, Gunnar | van Meurs, Joyce B J | Verlaan, Dominique | Williams, Frances MK | Wood, Andrew R | Zhou, Yanhua | Gautvik, Kaare M | Pastinen, Tomi | Raychaudhuri, Soumya | Cauley, Jane A | Chasman, Daniel I | Clark, Graeme R | Cummings, Steven R | Danoy, Patrick | Dennison, Elaine M | Eastell, Richard | Eisman, John A | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Hofman, Albert | Jackson, Rebecca D | Jones, Graeme | Jukema, J Wouter | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Lehtimäki, Terho | Liu, Yongmei | Lorentzon, Mattias | McCloskey, Eugene | Mitchell, Braxton D | Nandakumar, Kannabiran | Nicholson, Geoffrey C | Oostra, Ben A | Peacock, Munro | Pols, Huibert A P | Prince, Richard L | Raitakari, Olli | Reid, Ian R | Robbins, John | Sambrook, Philip N | Sham, Pak Chung | Shuldiner, Alan R | Tylavsky, Frances A | van Duijn, Cornelia M | Wareham, Nick J | Cupples, L Adrienne | Econs, Michael J | Evans, David M | Harris, Tamara B | Kung, Annie Wai Chee | Psaty, Bruce M | Reeve, Jonathan | Spector, Timothy D | Streeten, Elizabeth A | Zillikens, M Carola | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Ohlsson, Claes | Karasik, David | Richards, J Brent | Brown, Matthew A | Stefansson, Kari | Uitterlinden, André G | Ralston, Stuart H | Ioannidis, John P A | Kiel, Douglas P | Rivadeneira, Fernando
Nature genetics  2012;44(5):491-501.
Bone mineral density (BMD) is the most important predictor of fracture risk. We performed the largest meta-analysis to date on lumbar spine and femoral neck BMD, including 17 genome-wide association studies and 32,961 individuals of European and East Asian ancestry. We tested the top-associated BMD markers for replication in 50,933 independent subjects and for risk of low-trauma fracture in 31,016 cases and 102,444 controls. We identified 56 loci (32 novel)associated with BMD atgenome-wide significant level (P<5×10−8). Several of these factors cluster within the RANK-RANKL-OPG, mesenchymal-stem-cell differentiation, endochondral ossification and the Wnt signalling pathways. However, we also discovered loci containing genes not known to play a role in bone biology. Fourteen BMD loci were also associated with fracture risk (P<5×10−4, Bonferroni corrected), of which six reached P<5×10−8 including: 18p11.21 (C18orf19), 7q21.3 (SLC25A13), 11q13.2 (LRP5), 4q22.1 (MEPE), 2p16.2 (SPTBN1) and 10q21.1 (DKK1). These findings shed light on the genetic architecture and pathophysiological mechanisms underlying BMD variation and fracture susceptibility.
PMCID: PMC3338864  PMID: 22504420
8.  Large-Scale Analysis of Association Between LRP5 and LRP6 Variants and Osteoporosis 
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
9.  Loci at chromosomes 13, 19 and 20 influence age at natural menopause 
Nature genetics  2009;41(6):645-647.
We conducted a genome-wide association study for age at natural menopause in 2,979 European women and identified six SNPs in three loci associated with age at natural menopause: chromosome 19q13.4 (rs1172822; −0.4 year per T allele (39%); P = 6.3 × 10−11), chromosome 20p12.3 (rs236114; +0.5 year per A allele (21%); P = 9.7 × 10−11) and chromosome 13q34 (rs7333181; +0.5 year per A allele (12%); P = 2.5 × 10−8). These common genetic variants regulate timing of ovarian aging, an important risk factor for breast cancer, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC3000545  PMID: 19448619
10.  An Integration of Genome-Wide Association Study and Gene Expression Profiling to Prioritize the Discovery of Novel Susceptibility Loci for Osteoporosis-Related Traits 
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
11.  Heritabilities, apolipoprotein E, and effects of inbreeding on plasma lipids in a genetically isolated population: The Erasmus Rucphen Family Study 
European Journal of Epidemiology  2007;22(2):99-105.
Despite considerable progress in unravelling the genetic basis of dyslipidemias, most findings are based on families with extreme phenotypes. We studied lipid levels in an extended pedigree ascertained irrespective of phenotype from the population of a recent genetic isolate in the Netherlands. Heritabilities of plasma lipid measures were examined; this analysis also included estimates of the proportion of variance attributable to ApoE genotype. The association between inbreeding and lipids was also considered, as a substantial fraction of the population had known inbreeding. A total of 868 individuals from this pedigree, containing more than 60,000 people over 15 generations, were investigated in this study. Laboratory analysis of these subjects included the determination of fasting plasma lipids. ApoE ɛ2/3/4 status was ascertained using TaqMan assays. Heritabilities for plasma lipids were estimated with adjustments for multiple covariates using SOLAR. Heritabilities for total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), triglycerides (TG), TC/HDL ratio, and TG/HDL ratio were found to be 0.35, 0.56, 0.30, 0.24, 0.49, and 0.39, respectively. The addition of ApoE genotype in the model significantly decreased these estimates (Δh2 = −0.030, −0.004, −0.054, and −0.006 for TC, HDL, LDL, and TG). In a further analysis, TC and LDL were positively associated with the extent of inbreeding (ptrend = 0.02 and ptrend = 0.05, respectively). These data provide estimates of lipid heritability unbiased due to selection and suggest that this population represents a good opportunity to localize novel genes influencing plasma lipid levels.
PMCID: PMC2797851  PMID: 17318336
ApoE; Cholesterol; Extended pedigree; HDL; Inbreeding; LDL; Triglycerides
12.  The Role of Body Mass Index, Insulin, and Adiponectin in the Relation Between Fat Distribution and Bone Mineral Density 
Calcified Tissue International  2009;86(2):116-125.
Despite the positive association between body mass index (BMI) and bone mineral density (BMD) and content (BMC), the role of fat distribution in BMD/BMC remains unclear. We examined relationships between BMD/BMC and various measurements of fat distribution and studied the role of BMI, insulin, and adiponectin in these relations. Using a cross-sectional investigation of 2631 participants from the Erasmus Rucphen Family study, we studied associations between BMD (using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA]) at the hip, lumbar spine, total body (BMD and BMC), and fat distribution by the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), waist-to-thigh ratio (WTR), and DXA-based trunk-to-leg fat ratio and android-to-gynoid fat ratio. Analyses were stratified by gender and median age (48.0 years in women and 49.2 years in men) and were performed with and without adjustment for BMI, fasting insulin, and adiponectin. Using linear regression (adjusting for age, height, smoking, and use of alcohol), most relationships between fat distribution and BMD and BMC were positive, except for WTR. After BMI adjustment, most correlations were negative except for trunk-to-leg fat ratio in both genders. No consistent influence of age or menopausal status was found. Insulin and adiponectin levels did not explain either positive or negative associations. In conclusion, positive associations between android fat distribution and BMD/BMC are explained by higher BMI but not by higher insulin and/or lower adiponectin levels. Inverse associations after adjustment for BMI suggest that android fat deposition as measured by the WHR, WTR, and DXA-based android-to-gynoid fat ratio is not beneficial and possibly even deleterious for bone.
PMCID: PMC2809303  PMID: 19957167
Fat distribution; Bone mineral density; Body composition; Android-to-gynoid fat ratio; Waist-to-hip ratio; Insulin; Adiponectin
13.  Vitamin D Binding Protein Genotype and Osteoporosis 
Calcified Tissue International  2009;85(2):85-93.
Osteoporosis is a bone disease leading to an increased fracture risk. It is considered a complex multifactorial genetic disorder with interaction of environmental and genetic factors. As a candidate gene for osteoporosis, we studied vitamin D binding protein (DBP, or group-specific component, Gc), which binds to and transports vitamin D to target tissues to maintain calcium homeostasis through the vitamin D endocrine system. DBP can also be converted to DBP-macrophage activating factor (DBP-MAF), which mediates bone resorption by directly activating osteoclasts. We summarized the genetic linkage structure of the DBP gene. We genotyped two single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, rs7041 = Glu416Asp and rs4588 = Thr420Lys) in 6,181 elderly Caucasians and investigated interactions of the DBP genotype with vitamin D receptor (VDR) genotype and dietary calcium intake in relation to fracture risk. Haplotypes of the DBP SNPs correspond to protein variations referred to as Gc1s (haplotype 1), Gc2 (haplotype 2), and Gc1f (haplotype3). In a subgroup of 1,312 subjects, DBP genotype was found to be associated with increased and decreased serum 25-(OH)D3 for haplotype 1 (P = 3 × 10−4) and haplotype 2 (P = 3 × 10−6), respectively. Similar associations were observed for 1,25-(OH)2D3. The DBP genotype was not significantly associated with fracture risk in the entire study population. Yet, we observed interaction between DBP and VDR haplotypes in determining fracture risk. In the DBP haplotype 1-carrier group, subjects of homozygous VDR block 5-haplotype 1 had 33% increased fracture risk compared to noncarriers (P = 0.005). In a subgroup with dietary calcium intake <1.09 g/day, the hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) for fracture risk of DBP hap1-homozygote versus noncarrier was 1.47 (1.06–2.05). All associations were independent of age and gender. Our study demonstrated that the genetic effect of the DBP gene on fracture risk appears only in combination with other genetic and environmental risk factors for bone metabolism.
PMCID: PMC2729412  PMID: 19488670
DBP; VDR; Haplotype; Calcium intake; Fracture
14.  Inappropriate benzodiazepine use in older adults and the risk of fracture 
WHAT IS ALREADY KNOWN ABOUT THIS SUBJECTBenzodiazepine use increases the risk of fracture in the elderly.It is controversial which conditions of use are most risky, e.g. use of short- or long-acting benzodiazepines, dose and duration of use.The well-known Beers criteria include statements about inappropriate benzodiazepine use in elderly and the risk of fracture, but their clinical value has never been tested in an outcome study.WHAT THIS STUDY ADDSInappropriate benzodiazepine use according to the Beers criteria is not associated with an increased risk of fracture.Daily dose and duration of use is associated with higher risk of fracture, not the type of benzodiazepine prescribed as the Beers criteria state.
The Beers criteria for prescribing in elderly are well known and used for many drug utilization studies. We investigated the clinical value of the Beers criteria for benzodiazepine use, notably the association between inappropriate use and risk of fracture.
We performed a nested case–control study within the Rotterdam Study, a population-based cohort study in 7983 elderly. The proportion of ‘inappropriate’ benzodiazepine use according to the Beers criteria was compared between fracture patients and controls. ‘Inappropriate’ use for elderly implies use of some long-acting benzodiazepines and some intermediate/short-acting ones exceeding a suggested maximum daily dose. Also, alternative criteria were applied to compare the risk of fracture. Cases were defined as persons with incident fracture between 1991 and 2002 who were current benzodiazepine users on the fracture date. Controls were matched on fracture date and were also current benzodiazepine users.
The risk of fracture in ‘inappropriate’ benzodiazepine users according to the Beers criteria was not significantly different from ‘appropriate’ users [odds ratio (OR) 1.07, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.72, 1.60]. However, a significantly higher risk of fracture was found in ‘high dose’ users and a longer duration of use (14–90 days), irrespective of the type of benzodiazepine (OR 3.45, 95% CI 1.38, 8.59).
These findings suggest that inappropriate benzodiazepine use according to the Beers criteria is not associated with increased risk of fracture. Daily dose and longer duration of use (>14 days) is associated with higher risk of fracture, irrespective of the type of benzodiazepine prescribed.
PMCID: PMC2492915  PMID: 18460035
Beers criteria; benzodiazepines; elderly; fractures; inappropriate use
15.  Meta-Analysis of Genome-Wide Scans for Human Adult Stature Identifies Novel Loci and Associations with Measures of Skeletal Frame Size 
PLoS Genetics  2009;5(4):e1000445.
Recent genome-wide (GW) scans have identified several independent loci affecting human stature, but their contribution through the different skeletal components of height is still poorly understood. We carried out a genome-wide scan in 12,611 participants, followed by replication in an additional 7,187 individuals, and identified 17 genomic regions with GW-significant association with height. Of these, two are entirely novel (rs11809207 in CATSPER4, combined P-value = 6.1×10−8 and rs910316 in TMED10, P-value = 1.4×10−7) and two had previously been described with weak statistical support (rs10472828 in NPR3, P-value = 3×10−7 and rs849141 in JAZF1, P-value = 3.2×10−11). One locus (rs1182188 at GNA12) identifies the first height eQTL. We also assessed the contribution of height loci to the upper- (trunk) and lower-body (hip axis and femur) skeletal components of height. We find evidence for several loci associated with trunk length (including rs6570507 in GPR126, P-value = 4×10−5 and rs6817306 in LCORL, P-value = 4×10−4), hip axis length (including rs6830062 at LCORL, P-value = 4.8×10−4 and rs4911494 at UQCC, P-value = 1.9×10−4), and femur length (including rs710841 at PRKG2, P-value = 2.4×10−5 and rs10946808 at HIST1H1D, P-value = 6.4×10−6). Finally, we used conditional analyses to explore a possible differential contribution of the height loci to these different skeletal size measurements. In addition to validating four novel loci controlling adult stature, our study represents the first effort to assess the contribution of genetic loci to three skeletal components of height. Further statistical tests in larger numbers of individuals will be required to verify if the height loci affect height preferentially through these subcomponents of height.
Author Summary
The first genetic association studies of adult height have confirmed a role of many common variants in influencing human height, but to date, the genetic basis of differences between different skeletal components of height have not been addressed. Here, we take advantage of recent technical and methodological advances to examine the role of common genetic variants on both height and skeletal components of height. By examining nearly 20,000 individuals from the UK and the Netherlands, we provide statistically significant evidence that 17 genomic regions are associated with height, including four novel regions. We also examine, for the first time, the association of these 17 regions with skeletal size measurements of spine, femur, and hip axis length, a measurement of hip geometry known to influence the risk of osteoporotic fractures. We find that some height loci are also associated with these skeletal components, although further statistical tests will be required to verify if these genetic variants act differentially on the individual skeletal measurements. The knowledge generated by this and other studies will not only inform the genetics of human quantitative variation, but will also lead to the potential discovery of many medically important polymorphisms.
PMCID: PMC2661236  PMID: 19343178
16.  The -1997 G/T and Sp1 Polymorphisms in the Collagen Type I alpha1 (COLIA1) Gene in Relation to Changes in Femoral Neck Bone Mineral Density and the Risk of Fracture in the Elderly: The Rotterdam Study 
Calcified Tissue International  2007;81(1):18-25.
The COLIA1 Sp1 polymorphism has been associated with bone mineral density (BMD) and fracture. A promoter polymorphism, -1997 G/T, also has been associated with BMD. In this study, we examined whether these polymorphisms alone and in the form of haplotypes influence bone parameters and fracture risk in a large population-based cohort of elderly Caucasians. We determined the COLIA1 -1997 G/T (promoter) and Sp1 G/T (intron) polymorphisms in 6,280 individuals and inferred haplotypes. Femoral neck BMD and BMD change were compared across COLIA1 genotypes at baseline and follow-up (mean 6.5 years). We also investigated the relationship between the COLIA1 polymorphisms and incident nonvertebral fractures, which were recorded during a mean follow-up period of 7.4 years. Vertebral fractures were assessed by radiographs on 3,456 genotyped individuals. Femoral neck BMD measured at baseline was 3.8% lower in women carrying two copies of the T-Sp1 allele (P for trend = 0.03). No genotype dependent differences in BMD loss were observed. In women homozygous for the T allele of the Sp1 polymorphism, the risk of fragility fracture increased 2.3 times (95% confidence interval 1.4–3.9, P = 0.001). No such association was observed with the promoter polymorphism. In men, no association with either the Sp1 or the -1997 G/T promoter polymorphism was seen with BMD or fracture. High linkage disequilibrium (LD; D′ = 0.99, r2 = 0.03) exists between the two studied polymorphisms. We observed three haplotypes in our population: haplotype 1 (Gpromoter–Gintron) frequency (f) = 69%, haplotype 2 (Gpromoter–Tintron) f = 17.6%, and haplotype 3 (Tpromoter–Gintron) f = 13.4%. Haplotype 2 was associated with a 2.1-fold increased risk of fragility fracture in women (95% confidence interval 1.2–3.7, P = 0.001). We confirm that the COLIA1 Sp1 polymorphism influences BMD and the risk of fracture in postmenopausal Caucasian women. In contrast, we found no independent effect of the -1997 G/T promoter polymorphism on BMD or fracture.
PMCID: PMC1914224  PMID: 17551768
Bone; Osteoporosis; Bone mineral density; Fracture; COLIA1
18.  Large-Scale Evidence for the Effect of the COLIA1 Sp1 Polymorphism on Osteoporosis Outcomes: The GENOMOS Study  
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

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