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1.  The high bone mass phenotype is characterised by a combined cortical and trabecular bone phenotype: Findings from a pQCT case–control study☆ 
Bone  2013;52(1):380-388.
High bone mass (HBM), detected in 0.2% of DXA scans, is characterised by a mild skeletal dysplasia largely unexplained by known genetic mutations. We conducted the first systematic assessment of the skeletal phenotype in unexplained HBM using pQCT in our unique HBM population identified from screening routine UK NHS DXA scans.
pQCT measurements from the mid and distal tibia and radius in 98 HBM cases were compared with (i) 65 family controls (constituting unaffected relatives and spouses), and (ii) 692 general population controls.
HBM cases had substantially greater trabecular density at the distal tibia (340 [320, 359] mg/cm3), compared to both family (294 [276, 312]) and population controls (290 [281, 299]) (p < 0.001 for both, adjusted for age, gender, weight, height, alcohol, smoking, malignancy, menopause, steroid and estrogen replacement use). Similar results were obtained at the distal radius. Greater cortical bone mineral density (cBMD) was observed in HBM cases, both at the midtibia and radius (adjusted p < 0.001). Total bone area (TBA) was higher in HBM cases, at the distal and mid tibia and radius (adjusted p < 0.05 versus family controls), suggesting greater periosteal apposition. Cortical thickness was increased at the mid tibia and radius (adjusted p < 0.001), implying reduced endosteal expansion. Together, these changes resulted in greater predicted cortical strength (strength strain index [SSI]) in both tibia and radius (p < 0.001). We then examined relationships with age; tibial cBMD remained constant with increasing age amongst HBM cases (adjusted β − 0.01 [− 0.02, 0.01], p = 0.41), but declined in family controls (− 0.05 [− 0.03, − 0.07], p < 0.001) interaction p = 0.002; age-related changes in tibial trabecular BMD, CBA and SSI were also divergent. In contrast, at the radius HBM cases and controls showed parallel age-related declines in cBMD and trabecular BMD.
HBM is characterised by increased trabecular BMD and by alterations in cortical bone density and structure, leading to substantial increments in predicted cortical bone strength. In contrast to the radius, neither trabecular nor cortical BMD declined with age in the tibia of HBM cases, suggesting attenuation of age-related bone loss in weight-bearing limbs contributes to the observed bone phenotype.
Highlights
► High Bone Mass (HBM) is characterised by increased bone size, cortical BMD, cortical thickness and increased strength strain index. ► In HBM, trabecular density is also increased at both the distal radius and tibia. ► Tibial cortical and trabecular BMD decline with age in controls, but not in HBM implying attenuation of age-related loss. ► Similar differences in age-related bone loss are not seen at the radius, suggesting a possible interaction with weight-bearing.
doi:10.1016/j.bone.2012.10.021
PMCID: PMC3526774  PMID: 23103330
HBM, high bone mass; NHS, National Health Service; pQCT, peripheral quantitative computed tomography; OA, osteoarthritis; L1, 1st lumbar vertebra; cBMD, cortical bone mineral density; tBMD, trabecular bone mineral density; TBA, total bone area; CBA, cortical bone area; SSI, strength strain index; SD, standard deviation; PVE, partial volume effect; High bone mass; pQCT; Cortical; Trabecular; Age; BMD
2.  Large Scale Replication Study of the Association between HLA Class II/BTNL2 Variants and Osteoarthritis of the Knee in European-Descent Populations 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23371.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and a major cause of disability. This study evaluates the association in Caucasian populations of two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) mapping to the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) region and deriving from a genome wide association scan (GWAS) of knee OA in Japanese populations. The frequencies for rs10947262 were compared in 36,408 controls and 5,749 knee OA cases from European-descent populations. rs7775228 was tested in 32,823 controls and 1,837 knee OA cases of European descent. The risk (major) allele at rs10947262 in Caucasian samples was not significantly associated with an odds ratio (OR)  = 1.07 (95%CI 0.94 -1.21; p = 0.28). For rs7775228 the meta-analysis resulted in OR = 0.94 (95%CI 0.81-1.09; p = 0.42) for the allele associated with risk in the Japanese GWAS. In Japanese individuals these two SNPs are in strong linkage disequilibrium (LD) (r2 = 0.86) with the HLA class II haplotype DRB1*1502 DQA1*0103 DQB1*0601 (frequency 8%). In Caucasian and Chinese samples, using imputed data, these SNPs appear not to be in LD with that haplotype (r2<0.07). The rs10947262 and rs7775228 variants are not associated with risk of knee OA in European descent populations and they do not appear tag the same HLA class II haplotype as they do in Japanese individuals.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023371
PMCID: PMC3154440  PMID: 21853121
3.  Detailed Physiologic Characterization Reveals Diverse Mechanisms for Novel Genetic Loci Regulating Glucose and Insulin Metabolism in Humans 
Diabetes  2010;59(5):1266-1275.
OBJECTIVE
Recent genome-wide association studies have revealed loci associated with glucose and insulin-related traits. We aimed to characterize 19 such loci using detailed measures of insulin processing, secretion, and sensitivity to help elucidate their role in regulation of glucose control, insulin secretion and/or action.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We investigated associations of loci identified by the Meta-Analyses of Glucose and Insulin-related traits Consortium (MAGIC) with circulating proinsulin, measures of insulin secretion and sensitivity from oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTTs), euglycemic clamps, insulin suppression tests, or frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance tests in nondiabetic humans (n = 29,084).
RESULTS
The glucose-raising allele in MADD was associated with abnormal insulin processing (a dramatic effect on higher proinsulin levels, but no association with insulinogenic index) at extremely persuasive levels of statistical significance (P = 2.1 × 10−71). Defects in insulin processing and insulin secretion were seen in glucose-raising allele carriers at TCF7L2, SCL30A8, GIPR, and C2CD4B. Abnormalities in early insulin secretion were suggested in glucose-raising allele carriers at MTNR1B, GCK, FADS1, DGKB, and PROX1 (lower insulinogenic index; no association with proinsulin or insulin sensitivity). Two loci previously associated with fasting insulin (GCKR and IGF1) were associated with OGTT-derived insulin sensitivity indices in a consistent direction.
CONCLUSIONS
Genetic loci identified through their effect on hyperglycemia and/or hyperinsulinemia demonstrate considerable heterogeneity in associations with measures of insulin processing, secretion, and sensitivity. Our findings emphasize the importance of detailed physiological characterization of such loci for improved understanding of pathways associated with alterations in glucose homeostasis and eventually type 2 diabetes.
doi:10.2337/db09-1568
PMCID: PMC2857908  PMID: 20185807
4.  Genome-Wide Association Study Using Extreme Truncate Selection Identifies Novel Genes Affecting Bone Mineral Density and Fracture Risk 
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1001372
PMCID: PMC3080863  PMID: 21533022
5.  How useful are the SF-36 sub-scales in older people? Mokken scaling of data from the HALCyon programme 
Quality of Life Research  2011;20(7):1005-1010.
Purpose
To evaluate two psychometric properties of SF-36, namely unidimensionality and reliability.
Methods
The data are from three cohorts in the HALCyon collaborative research programme into healthy ageing: Aberdeen Birth Cohort 1936 (n = 428), Hertfordshire Ageing Study (n = 358) and Hertfordshire Cohort Study (n = 3,216). The Mokken scaling model was applied to each sub-scale of SF-36 to evaluate unidimensionality as indicated by scalability. The lower bound for internal consistency reliability was determined by Cronbach’s alpha.
Results
All six sub-scales of SF-36, with the exception of general health (GH) and mental health (MH), demonstrated strong scalability (0.5 ≤ H < 1). The results were consistent across all 3 cohorts. Both GH and MH showed medium scalability (0.4 ≤ H <0.55), although individual items ‘sick easier..’, ‘as healthy as..’ and ‘expect to get worse’ of the GH sub-scale and ‘nervous’, ‘happy’ in the MH sub-scale had low scalability (H < 0.4) in the oldest cohort (aged 73–83). Cronbach’s alphas for all sub-scales were between 0.70 and 0.92.
Conclusions
The unidimensionality and reliability of the sub-scales of SF-36 are sufficient to make this a useful measure of health-related quality of life in older people. Caution is needed when interpreting the results for GH and MH in the oldest cohort due to the poor unidimensionality.
doi:10.1007/s11136-010-9838-7
PMCID: PMC3161183  PMID: 21225350
SF-36; Psychometric properties; Unidimensionality; Reliability; Cronbach’s alpha; Mokken scaling
6.  Growth in early life predicts bone strength in late adulthood: The Hertfordshire Cohort Study 
Bone  2007;41(3):400-405.
Infant growth is a determinant of adult bone mass, and poor childhood growth is a risk factor for adult hip fracture. Peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) allows non-invasive assessment of bone strength. We utilised this technology to examine relationships between growth in early life and bone strength.
We studied 313 men and 318 women born in Hertfordshire between 1931 and 1939 who were still resident there in adult life, for whom detailed early life records were available. Lifestyle factors were evaluated by questionnaire, anthropometric measurements made, and peripheral QCT examination of the radius and tibia performed (Stratec 4500).
Birthweight and conditional weight at 1 year were strongly related to radial and tibial length in both sexes (p < 0.001) and to measures of bone strength [fracture load X, fracture load Y, polar strength strain index (SSI)] at both the radius and tibia. These relationships were robust to adjustment for age, body mass index (BMI), social class, cigarette and alcohol consumption, physical activity, dietary calcium intake, HRT use, and menopausal status in women. Among men, BMI was strongly positively associated with radial (r = 0.46, p = 0.001) and tibial (r = 0.24, p = 0.006) trabecular bone mineral density (BMD). Current smoking was associated with lower cortical (radius: p = 0.0002; tibia: p = 0.08) and trabecular BMD (radius: p = 0.08; tibia: p = 0.04) in males. Similar trends of BMD with these anthropometric and lifestyle variables were seen in women but they were non-significant. Current HRT use was associated with greater female cortical (radius: p = 0.0002; tibia: p = 0.001) and trabecular (radius: p = 0.008; tibia: p = 0.04) BMD. Current HRT use was also associated with greater radial strength (polar SSI: p = 0.006; fracture load X: p = 0.005; fracture load Y: p = 0.02) in women. Women who had sustained any fracture since the age of 45 years had lower radial total (p = 0.0001), cortical (p < 0.005) and trabecular (p = 0.0002) BMD, poorer forearm bone strength [polar SSI (p = 0.006), fracture load X and Y (p = 0.02)], and lower tibial total (p < 0.001), cortical (p = 0.008), and trabecular (p = 0.0001) BMD.
We have shown that growth in early life is associated with bone size and strength in a UK population aged 65–73 years. Lifestyle factors were associated with volumetric bone density in this population.
doi:10.1016/j.bone.2007.05.007
PMCID: PMC2080691  PMID: 17599849
Bone; Strength; Density; Programming; Epidemiology

Results 1-6 (6)