Bone size is an important determinant of osteoporotic fractures. For a sample of 53 pedigrees that contains more than 10,000 relative pairs informative for linkage analyses, we performed a whole-genome linkage scan using 380 microsatellite markers to identify genomic regions that may contain QTLs of bone size (two-dimensional measurement by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry). We conducted two- and multi-point linkage analyses. Several potentially important genomic regions were identified. For example, the genomic region 17q23 may contain a QTL for wrist (ultra distal) bone size variation; a LOD score of 3.98 is achieved at D17S787 in two-point analyses and a maximum LOD score (MLS) of 3.01 is achieved in multi-point analyses in 17q23. 19p13 may contain a QTL for hip bone size variation; a LOD score of 1.99 is achieved at D19S226 in two-point analyses and a MLS of 2.83 is achieved in 19p13 in multi-point analyses. The genomic region identified on chromosome 17 for wrist bone size seems to be consistent with that identified for femur head width variation in an earlier whole-genome scan study. The genomic regions identified in this study and an earlier investigation on one-dimensional bone size measurement by radiography are compared. The two studies may form a basis for further exploration with larger samples and/or denser markers for confirmation and fine mapping studies to eventually identify major functional genes and the associated causes for osteoporosis.
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