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.
Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Life Sciences
Articles and reports from the Life Sciences 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.
Safe high-tech batteries for electric cars and laptops
New joint project at the University of Bayreuth Lithium-ion batteries are currently the most important category of electrical energy storage device. Their operational safety depends crucially on separators that ensure…
New study suggests supermassive black holes could form from dark matter
A new theoretical study has proposed a novel mechanism for the creation of supermassive black holes from dark matter. The international team find that rather than the conventional formation scenarios…
Tool that more efficiently analyzes ocean color data will become part of NASA program
Stevens uses machine learning-driven techniques to develop a long-awaited tool that better reveals the health of Earth’s oceans and the impacts of climate change. Researchers at Stevens Institute of Technology…