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Bone. 2008 Sep;43(3):607-12. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2008.04.005. Epub 2008 Apr 25.

Autosome-wide linkage analysis of hip structural phenotypes in the Old Order Amish.

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  • 1University of Maryland School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, Baltimore, MD, USA.



Fracture risk is associated with bone mineral density (BMD) and with other indices of bone strength, including hip geometry. While the heritability and associated fracture risk of BMD are well described, less is known about genetic influences of bone geometry. We derived hip structural phenotypes using the Hip Structural Analysis program (HSA) and performed autosome-wide linkage analysis of hip geometric structural phenotypes.


The Amish Family Osteoporosis Study was designed to identify genes affecting bone health. BMD was measured at the hip using dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in 879 participants (mean age+/-SD=49.8+/-16.1 years, range 18-91 years) from large multigenerational families. From DXA scans, we computed structural measures of hip geometry at the femoral neck (NN) and shaft (S) by HSA, including cross-sectional area (CSA), endocortical or inner diameter (ID), outer diameter (OD) buckling ratio (BR) and section modulus (Z). Genotyping of 731 highly polymorphic microsatellite markers (average spacing of 5.4 cM) and autosome-wide multipoint linkage analysis was performed.


The heritability of HSA-derived hip phenotypes ranged from 40 to 84%. In the group as a whole, autosome-wide linkage analysis suggested evidence of linkage for QTLs related to NN_Z on chromosome 1p36 (LOD=2.36). In subgroup analysis, ten additional suggestive regions of linkage were found on chromosomes 1, 2, 5, 6, 11, 12, 14, 15 and 17, all with LOD>2.3 except for our linkage at 17q11.2-13 for men and women age 50 and under for NN_CSA, which had a lower LOD of 2.16, but confirmed a previous linkage report.


We found HSA-derived measures of hip structure to be highly heritable independent of BMD. No strong evidence of linkage was found for any phenotype. Confirmatory evidence of linkage was found on chromosome 17q11.2-12 for NN_CSA. Modest evidence was found for genes affecting hip structural phenotypes at ten other chromosomal locations.

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