SIBLING family genes and bone mineral density: Association and allele-specific expression in humans

Imranul Alam, Leah R. Padgett, Shoji Ichikawa, Mohammed Alkhouli, Daniel L. Koller, Dongbing Lai, Munro Peacock, Xiaoling Xuei, Tatiana Foroud, Howard J. Edenberg, Michael J. Econs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Osteoporosis is a common complex disorder with reduced bone mineral density (BMD) and increased susceptibility to fracture. Peak BMD is one of the primary determinants of osteoporotic fracture risk, and is under substantial genetic control. Extracellular matrix, a major component of the bone, influences BMD by regulating mineral deposition and maintaining cellular activity. It contains several SIBLING family proteins, null mutations of which cause mineralization defects in humans. In this study, we tested 59 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located in the 5 SIBLING family genes (DSPP, DMP1, IBSP, MEPE and SPP1) for association with normal variation in peak BMD in healthy men and women. We measured femoral neck (FN) and lumbar spine (LS) areal BMD by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in 1692 premenopausal European-American women, 512 premenopausal African-American women and 715 European-American men. SNPs were tested for association with FN and LS-BMD in the 3 subsamples. In the European-American women, we observed association (p ≤ 0.005) with LS-BMD for SNPs in DSPP, IBSP and MEPE, and for FN-BMD with SNPs in DMP1 and IBSP. Allele-specific regulation of gene expression (ASE) is an important mechanism in which an allele giving rise to modest influence in transcript abundance might result in a predisposition to disease. To identify whether there was ASE of SIBLING family genes at these SNPs, we examined 52 human bone samples obtained from the femoral neck during surgical hip replacement (27 female, 25 male; 44 European-American and 8 African-American). We observed unidirectional ASE for the IBSP gene, with lower expression of the G allele compared to the A allele for SNP rs17013181. Our data suggest that SNPs within the SIBLING genes may contribute to normal variation of peak BMD. Further studies are necessary to identify the functional variants and to determine the mechanisms underlying the differences in ASE and how these differences relate to the pathophysiology of osteoporosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-172
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Allele-specific expression
  • Bone mineral density
  • Genetic association
  • Osteoporosis
  • SIBLING genes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Histology
  • Medicine(all)

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