Objective: Genes explaining the susceptibility to osteoporosis have not been fully elucidated. Our objective was to explore the association of polymorphisms capturing common variations of the lipoprotein receptor-related protein (LRP) 5 and 6 genes, encoding two Wnt receptors, with femoral neck bone mineral density (BMD) and osteoporotic fractures of the spine and the hip.
Design: Cross-sectional, case-control, and replication genetic association study.
Methods: Thirty-nine tagging and functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were analyzed in a group of 1043 postmenopausal women and 394 women with hip fractures. The results were replicated in a different group of 342 women.
Results: Three SNPs of the LRP6 gene were associated with BMD (nominal uncorrected P values <0.05) in the discovery cohort. One showed a significant association after multiple test correction; two of them were also associated in the replication cohort, with a combined standardized mean difference of 0.51 (P=0.009) and 0.47 (P<0.003) across rs11054704 and rs2302685 genotypes. In the discovery cohort, several LRP5 SNPs were associated with vertebral fractures (odds ratio (OR) 0.67; P=0.01), with hip fractures (unadjusted ORs between 0.59 and 1.21; P=0.005-0.033, but not significant after multiple test adjustment or age adjustment), and with height and the projected femoral neck area, but not with BMD. Transcripts of LRP5 and LRP6 were similarly abundant in bone samples.
Conclusions: In this study, we found common polymorphisms of LRP5 associated with osteoporotic fractures, and polymorphisms of the LRP6 gene associated with BMD, thus suggesting them as likely candidates to contribute to the explaination of the hereditary influence on osteoporosis.