BACKGROUND - Osteoporosis is a major public health problem, mainly quantified by low bone mineral density (BMD). The majority of BMD variation is determined by genetic effects. A pilot whole genome linkage scan (WGS) was previously reported in 53 white pedigrees with 630 subjects. Several genomic regions were suggested to be linked to BMD variation.
OBJECTIVE - To substantiate these previous findings and detect new genomic regions.
METHODS - A WGS was conducted on an extended sample where the size was almost tripled (1816 subjects from 79 pedigrees). All the subjects were genotyped with 451 microsatellite markers spaced approximately 8.1 cM apart across the human genome. Two point and multipoint linkage analyses were carried out using the variance component method.
RESULTS - The strongest linkage signal was obtained on Xq27 with two point LOD scores of 4.30 for wrist BMD, and 2.57 for hip BMD, respectively. Another important region was 11q23, which achieved a maximum LOD score of 3.13 for spine BMD in multipoint analyses, confirming the results on this region in two earlier independent studies. Suggestive linkage evidence was also found on 7p14 and 20p12.
CONCLUSIONS - Together with the findings from other studies, the current study has further delineated the genetic basis of bone mass and highlights the importance of increasing sample size to confirm linkage findings and to identify new regions of linkage.