QTL analyses identified several chromosomal regions influencing skeletal phenotypes of the femur and tibia in BXD F2 and BXD RI populations of mice. QTLs for skeletal traits co-located with each other and with correlated traits such as body weight and length, adipose mass, and serum alkaline phosphatase.
Introduction: Past research has shown substantial genetic influence on bone quality, and the impact of reduced bone mass on our aging population has heightened the interest in skeletal genetic research.
Materials and Methods: Quantitative trait loci (QTL) analyses were performed on morphologic measures and structural and material properties of the femur and tibia in 200-day-old C57BL/6J × DBA/2 (BXD) F2 (second filial generation; n = 400) and BXD recombinant inbred (RI; n = 23 strains) populations of mice. Body weight, body length, adipose mass, and serum alkaline phosphatase were correlated phenotypes included in the analyses.
Results: Skeletal QTLs for morphologic bone measures such as length, width, cortical thickness, and cross-sectional area mapped to nearly every chromosome. QTLs for both structural properties (ultimate load, yield load, or stiffness) and material properties (stress and strain characteristics and elastic modulus) mapped to chromosomes 4, 6, 9, 12, 13, 15, and 18. QTLs that were specific to structural properties were identified on chromosomes 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, and 17, and QTLs that were specific to skeletal material properties were identified on chromosomes 5, 11, 16, and 19. QTLs for body size (body weight, body length, and adipose mass) often mapped to the same chromosomal regions as those identified for skeletal traits, suggesting that several QTLs identified as influencing bone could be mediated through body size.
Conclusion: New QTLs, not previously reported in the literature, were identified for structural and material properties and morphological measures of the mouse femur and tibia. Body weight and length, adipose mass, and serum alkaline phosphatase were correlated phenotypes that mapped in close proximity of skeletal chromosomal loci. The more specific measures of bone quality included in this investigation enhance our understanding of the functional significance of previously identified QTLs.