Candidate genes for osteoporesis and obesity

Variants of BMP2 gene as genetic risk factors for osteoporosis

Linking specific genes with common, complex diseases like osteoporosis is a tricky business. There are likely to be many genetic as well as environmental and lifestyle causes, and to find them researchers need large populations, abundant genetic markers, and extensive patient data. In addition to powerful genotyping resources, researchers at deCODE in Iceland can take advantage of a nationwide genealogical database of Icelanders stretching back to the population’s origin 1,100 years ago. By screening hundreds of affected individuals and their families, Unnur Styrkársdóttir and colleagues searched for candidate genes underlying osteoporosis and its harbinger, low bone mineral density (BMD).

The scientists identified 207 extended families with multiple affecteds and conducted a genome-wide linkage scan to look for genomic areas shared by family members with low BMD and osteoporotic fractures. They found significant linkage to the short arm of Chromosome 20, an area that contains six known genes, including four genes involved in bone formation and osteoblast (bone-forming cell) differentiation. To winnow the list of most likely candidate genes, Styrkársdóttir et al. screened the genomes of 705 individuals with osteoporosis in a case-control study, using closely spaced genetic markers within the region of interest. This analysis pointed to BMP2 as the most likely candidate—an enticing finding, because BMP2 (bone morphogenetic protein 2) is known to be involved in bone development.

Sequencing the BMP2 gene in 188 patients and 94 controls to look for variants that might confer predisposition to osteoporosis flagged several possible haplotypes (which were subsequently shown to be associated with osteoporosis in the larger cohort). These at-risk haplotypes, or versions of the BMP2 gene, were shown to approximately triple the likelihood of developing the disease. Furthermore, an independent replication study with two groups of postmenopausal Danish women—one group with low BMD and one with osteoporotic fractures—found comparable results, with a higher incidence of the BMP2 variants associated with osteoporosis in Iceland in the affected Danish women compared to the controls.

Taken together, these results make a strong case for genetic variations of BMP2 as risk factors for osteoporosis. The researchers hope their work will inspire others to replicate their results, to confirm and elucidate the role of this gene in osteoporosis. Understanding the mechanisms and signaling pathways of BMP2’s effects could not only identify drug targets for osteoporosis therapies, but also, through the application of these findings to the development of DNA-based diagnostics, make it possible to catch those at high risk before they take that fateful fall.

Media Contact

Mark Patterson PLoS

More Information:

All latest news from the category: Life Sciences and Chemistry

Articles and reports from the Life Sciences and chemistry area deal with applied and basic research into modern biology, chemistry and human medicine.

Valuable information can be found on a range of life sciences fields including bacteriology, biochemistry, bionics, bioinformatics, biophysics, biotechnology, genetics, geobotany, human biology, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biology, cellular biology, zoology, bioinorganic chemistry, microchemistry and environmental chemistry.

Back to home

Comments (0)

Write a comment

Newest articles

Mapping the heart to prevent damage caused by a heart attack

Scientists at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Australia have produced a first of its kind integrated map of heart cells which unlocks the process of cardiac fibrosis – a…

Cannabis use tied to increased risk of severe COVID-19

Similar to smokers, cannabis users nearly twice as likely to need hospitalization, intensive care when infected with the virus. As the deadly disease that came to be known as COVID-19…

A glass that builds and heals itself

Researchers from Tel Aviv University have for the first time created a transparent, self-repairing adhesive glass that forms spontaneously when it comes in contact with water. An international discovery published…

Partners & Sponsors