Genetic influences on bone loss in the San Antonio Family Osteoporosis study

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Abstract

Summary

The genetic contribution to age-related bone loss is not well understood. We estimated that genes accounted for 25-45% of variation in 5-year change in bone mineral density in men and women. An autosome-wide linkage scan yielded no significant evidence for chromosomal regions implicated in bone loss.

Introduction

The contribution of genetics to acquisition of peak bone mass is well documented, but little is known about the influence of genes on subsequent bone loss with age. We therefore measured 5-year change in bone mineral density (BMD) in 300 Mexican Americans (>45 years of age) from the San Antonio Family Osteoporosis Study to identify genetic factors influencing bone loss.

Methods

Annualized change in BMD was calculated from measurements taken 5.5 years apart. Heritability (h2) of BMD change was estimated using variance components methods and autosome-wide linkage analysis was carried out using 460 microsatellite markers at a mean 7.6 cM interval density.

Results

Rate of BMD change was heritable at the forearm (h2 = 0.31, p = 0.021), hip (h2 = 0.44, p = 0.017), spine (h2 = 0.42, p = 0.005), but not whole body (h2 = 0.18, p = 0.123). Covariates associated with rapid bone loss (advanced age, baseline BMD, female sex, low baseline weight, postmenopausal status, and interim weight loss) accounted for 10% to 28% of trait variation. No significant evidence of linkage was observed at any skeletal site.

Conclusions

This is one of the first studies to report significant heritability of BMD change for weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing bones in an unselected population and the first linkage scan for change in BMD.

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