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J Bone Miner Res. 2010 Aug;25(8):1830-8. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.78.

Genetic variation in the RANKL/RANK/OPG signaling pathway is associated with bone turnover and bone mineral density in men.

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Arthritis Research UK, Epidemiology Unit, The University of Manchester, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Manchester, UK.


The aim of this study was to determine if single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in RANKL, RANK, and OPG influence bone turnover and bone mineral density (BMD) in men. Pairwise tag SNPs (r(2) > or = 0.8) were selected for RANKL, RANK, and OPG and their 10-kb flanking regions. Selected tag SNPs plus five SNPs near RANKL and OPG, associated with BMD in published genome-wide association studies (GWAS), were genotyped in 2653 men aged 40 to 79 years of age recruited for participation in a population-based study of male aging, the European Male Ageing Study (EMAS). N-terminal propeptide of type I procollagen (PINP) and C-terminal cross-linked telopeptide of type I collagen (CTX-I) serum levels were measured in all men. BMD at the calcaneus was estimated by quantitative ultrasound (QUS) in all men. Lumbar spine and total-hip areal BMD (BMD(a)) was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in a subsample of 620 men. Multiple OPG, RANK, and RANKL SNPs were associated with bone turnover markers. We also identified a number of SNPs associated with BMD, including rs2073618 in OPG and rs9594759 near RANKL. The minor allele of rs2073618 (C) was associated with higher levels of both PINP (beta = 1.83, p = .004) and CTX-I (beta = 17.59, p = 4.74 x 10(-4)), and lower lumbar spine BMD(a) (beta = -0.02, p = .026). The minor allele of rs9594759 (C) was associated with lower PINP (beta = -1.84, p = .003) and CTX-I (beta = -27.02, p = 6.06 x 10(-8)) and higher ultrasound BMD at the calcaneus (beta = 0.01, p = .037). Our findings suggest that genetic variation in the RANKL/RANK/OPG signaling pathway influences bone turnover and BMD in European men.

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