• high BMD;
  • low-density lipoprotein receptor–related protein 5;
  • gain-of-function mutation;
  • canonical Wnt signaling;
  • Dickkopf 1


We found a novel heterozygous missense mutation (M282V) in the LRP5 gene in a patient with a high bone mass phenotype. In vitro studies suggest that a reduced antagonistic effect of DKK1 on canonical Wnt signaling contributes to the molecular effect of this mutation and its pathogenic consequence.

Introduction: Gain-of-function mutations in the gene encoding LDL receptor–related protein 5 (LRP5) cause high bone mass. Recent studies revealed that a reduced inhibition of canonical Wnt signaling by Dickkopf 1 (DKK1) contributes to the pathophysiology of this disease phenotype.

Materials and Methods: We report on a 55-yr-old female patient with a high bone mass phenotype. Sequencing of exons 2–4 of the LRP5 gene was carried out to screen for disease-associated mutations in genomic DNA of the patient. The effect of the identified mutation on LRP5 membrane trafficking was studied by immunoblotting of a truncated form of LRP5. Additionally, Wnt signal activation in the absence and presence of DKK1 was assessed using a TCF4-based reporter gene assay in Saos-2 cells.

Results: Our patient presents with dense bones (Z-scores > +6), and radiographic examination showed a generalized thickening of the skeleton. BMD at the hip and lumbar spine significantly decreased through the passage to menopause, indicating no protection to bone loss. Further clinical evaluation revealed torus palatinus. Mutation analysis showed the presence of a novel heterozygous missense variant (844A[RIGHTWARDS ARROW]G; M282V) in LRP5, located in the first β-propeller domain of the extracellular portion. Although protein secretion seemed to be impaired, this mutant was able to transduce Wnt signals at levels comparable with wildtype LRP5. We additionally observed a less efficient inhibition of canonical Wnt signaling by DKK1.

Conclusions: Like all high BMD–associated gain-of-function LRP5 mutations described thus far, the M282V variant affects an amino acid located in the first β-propeller domain, underlining the functional importance of this region in the pathophysiology of these conditions. This mutation most likely alters a region important for LRP5 modulation by DKK.