Eight genes are highly associated with BMD variation in postmenopausal Caucasian women

Bone. 2010 Mar;46(3):604-12. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2009.11.007. Epub 2009 Nov 14.


Low bone mineral density (BMD) is an important risk factor for skeletal fractures which occur in about 40% of women >/=50 years in the western world. We describe the transcriptional changes in 84 trans-iliacal bone biopsies associated with BMD variations in postmenopausal females (50 to 86 years), aiming to identify genetic determinants of bone structure. The women were healthy or having a primary osteopenic or osteoporotic status with or without low energy fractures. The total cohort of 91 unrelated women representing a wide range of BMDs, were consecutively registered and submitted to global gene Affymetrix microarray expression analysis or histomorphometry. Among almost 23,000 expressed transcripts, a set represented by ACSL3 (acyl-CoA synthetase long-chain family member 3), NIPSNAP3B (nipsnap homolog 3B), DLEU2 (Deleted in lymphocytic leukemia, 2), C1ORF61 (Chromosome 1 open reading frame 61), DKK1 (Dickkopf homolog 1), SOST (Sclerostin), ABCA8, (ATP-binding cassette, sub-family A, member 8), and uncharacterized (AFFX-M27830-M-at), was significantly correlated to total hip BMD (5% false discovery rate) explaining 62% of the BMD variation expressed as T-score, 53% when adjusting for the influence of age (Z-score) and 44% when further adjusting for body mass index (BMI). Only SOST was previously associated to BMD, and the majority of the genes have previously not been associated with a bone phenotype. In molecular network analyses, SOST shows a strong, positive correlation with DKK1, both being members of the Wnt signaling pathway. The results provide novel insight in the underlying biology of bone metabolism and osteoporosis which is the ultimate consequence of low BMD.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bone Density / genetics*
  • Cohort Studies
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Markers / genetics
  • Genetic Variation / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / genetics*
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / physiopathology
  • Postmenopause / genetics*
  • Postmenopause / metabolism


  • Genetic Markers