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Keywords:

  • genome-wide scan;
  • linkage;
  • BMD;
  • quantitative trait loci;
  • siblings

Abstract

Few genome-wide linkage studies of osteoporosis have been conducted in the Asian population. We performed a genome-wide scan involving 3093 adult siblings with at least one sib-pair extremely concordant or discordant for hip BMD. Our results indicated four genome-wide significant QTLs for BMD. In comparison with 12 previous reported linkage studies, we reveal novel linkage regions that have reaching global significance.

Introduction: The genetic basis for osteoporosis has been firmly established, but efforts to identify genes associated with this complex trait have been incomplete, especially in Asian populations. The purpose of this study was to identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for BMD in a Chinese population.

Materials and Methods: We performed a genome-wide scan involving 3093 siblings 25–64 years of age from 941 families, with at least one sib-pair extreme concordant or discordant for total hip BMD from a large community-based cohort (n = 23,327) in Anhui, China. Linkage analysis was performed on BMD residuals adjusted for age, height, weight, occupation, cigarette smoking, physical activity, and alcohol consumption using the revised Haseman-Elston regression-based linkage model.

Results: Our results revealed significant QTLs on chromosome 7p21.2 for femoral neck BMD (LOD = 3.68) and on chromosome 2q24.3 for total hip BMD (LOD = 3.65). Suggestive linkage regions were found to overlap among different skeletal sites on chromosomes 2q, 7p, and 16q. Sex-specific linkage analysis further revealed a significant QTL for lumbar spine BMD on chromosome 13q21.1 (LOD = 3.62) in women only. When performing multivariate linkage analysis by combining BMDs at four skeletal sites (i.e., whole body, total hip, femoral neck, and lumbar spine BMD), an additional significant QTL was found at chromosome 5q21.2 (LOD = 4.56). None of these significant QTLs found in our study overlapped with major QTLs reported by other studies.

Conclusions: This study reveals four novel QTLs in a Chinese population and suggests that BMD at different skeletal sites may also share common genetic determinants.