Sex-specific and non-sex-specific quantitative trait loci contribute to normal variation in bone mineral density in men

Munro Peacock, Daniel L. Koller, Tonya Fishburn, Subha Krishnan, Dongbing Lai, Siu Hui, C. Conrad Johnston, Tatiana Foroud, Michael J. Econs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Introduction: A major determinant of osteoporotic fracture is peak bone mineral density (BMD). In women peak BMD is highly heritable and several quantitative trait loci (QTL) have been reported. There are few comparable data in men. This study in men aimed to establish the heritability of peak BMD, identify QTL contributing to normal variation in BMD, and determine which QTL might be sex specific. Methods: BMD at the spine and hip were measured in 323 pairs of brothers aged 18-61 yr (264 white pairs; 59 black pairs). Heritability was calculated and linkage analysis performed with spine and hip BMD phenotypes. Results: Heritability estimates ranged from 0.61 to 0.87 and were not significantly different between white and black men. A 9-cM genome-wide scan followed by genotyping with more closely spaced markers identified suggestive QTL (logarithm of the odds > 2.2) for BMD on chromosomes 1q (spine), 2p (spine), 2q (hip), 14p (spine), 18 (hip), and 21 (hip). Comparison with published data in 774 pairs of premenopausal sisters suggested that the QTL on 1q (spine), 2q (hip), 14p (spine), and 21q (hip) were male specific, whereas those on 2p (spine) and 18 (hip) were not sex specific. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that BMD in healthy men is highly heritable with similar estimates of the genetic contribution to BMD in both whites and blacks. Of the six QTL identified, three were specific for spine BMD and three were specific for hip BMD. When compared with published QTL for peak BMD in women from the same geographical region, four of the QTL appeared to be male specific. The occurrence of sex-specific genes in humans for BMD has potentially important implications for the pathogenesis and treatment of osteoporosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3060-3066
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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