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Common Gene Variants May Increase Risk of Osteoporosis

Bone mineral density is lower and fracture risk is higher in carriers of two LRP5 gene variants

TUESDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) -- Among different white populations, two common variants in the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 5 (LRP5) gene are associated with a modestly increased risk of lower bone mineral density and a modestly increased risk of fracture, researchers report in the March 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Joyce B.J. van Meurs, Ph.D., of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and colleagues collected data on 37,534 subjects from 18 teams in Europe and North America between September 2004 and January 2007.

The researchers found that the Met667 allele copy and the Val1330 copy were associated with reduced lumbar spine and femoral neck bone mineral density. They also found that both alleles were associated with an increased risk of vertebral fractures (odds ratio, 1.26 for Met667 and 1.12 for Val1330) and an increased risk of all fractures (OR, 1.14 for Met667 and 1.06 for Val1330). They found that one variant of the LRP5 gene -- Ile1062Val -- was not associated with any osteoporosis phenotype.

"Although any single marker explains only a small portion of the phenotype risk, identification of several such osteoporosis risk variants may eventually help in improving clinical prediction," the authors conclude. "Single genetic risk variants such as LRP5 variants may also offer useful insights about mechanisms and pathways that may be useful in drug development."

The study received funding from Pfizer, and several of the study authors report financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

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