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Osteoporos Int. 2005 Dec;16(12):1917-23. Epub 2005 Sep 15.

Familial aggregation of bone mineral density and bone mineral content in a Chinese population.

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  • 1Program for Population Genetics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, MA 02115, USA.


Familial aggregation of bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content (BMC) has been shown in twin and familial studies, but most sample sizes were small. We here report a large familial aggregation study in a Chinese population. A total of 13,973 siblings aged 25-64 years from 3,882 families were enrolled from Anhui, China. We assessed the whole-body, hip and lumbar spine BMD and BMC by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Intra-class correlation coefficients of BMD and BMC between siblings varied among different skeletal sites and between different age groups of male sib-pairs and premenopausal and postmenopausal female sib-pairs, with a range of 0.228 to 0.397. The sibling recurrence risk ratio (lambdas) of osteoporosis was 2.6 in our population. We also evaluated the joint association of the BMD values of the first siblings and the second siblings with the risk of low BMD (defined as less than the 10th percentile of the same group population) of their younger siblings. If both the first and second siblings' BMDs were in the lowest tertile, the odd ratios (ORs) of low BMD in their subsequent siblings were 8.32 [95% confidence interval (CI) 5.59-12.39)], 8.71 (95% CI 5.74-13.22) and 5.90 (95% CI 3.57-9.76) for total body, total hip and lumbar spine, respectively. This study demonstrates a significant familial aggregation of BMD and BMC in a large sample of rural Chinese adults.

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