Author(s): Karasik D, CohenZinder M
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Abstract Increased rates of osteoporotic fractures represent a worldwide phenomenon, which result from a progressing aging in the population around the world and creating socioeconomic problems. This review will focus mostly on human genetic studies identifying genomic regions, genes and mutations associated with osteoporosis (bone mineral density (BMD) and bone loss) and related fractures, which were published during 2011. Although multiple genome-wide association studies (GWAS) were performed to date, the genetic cause of osteoporosis and fractures has not yet been found, and only a small fraction of high heritability of bone mass was successfully explained. GWAS is a successful tool to initially define and prioritize specific chromosomal regions showing associations with the desired traits or diseases. Following the initial discovery and replication, targeted sequencing is needed in order to detect those rare variants which GWAS does not reveal by design. Recent GWAS findings for BMD included WNT16 and MEF2C. The role of bone morphogenetic proteins in fracture healing has been explored by several groups, and new single-nucleotide polymorphisms present in genes such as NOGGIN and SMAD6 were found to be associated with a greater risk of fracture non-union. Finding new candidate genes, and mutations associated with BMD and fractures, also provided new biological connections. Thus, candidates for molecular link between bone metabolism and lactation (for example, RAP1A gene), as well as possible pleiotropic effects for bone and muscle (ACTN3 gene) were suggested. The focus of contemporary studies seems to move toward whole-genome sequencing, epigenetic and functional genomics strategies to find causal variants for osteoporosis.
This article was published in Bonekey Rep
and referenced in Journal of Molecular Biomarkers & Diagnosis