Important progress has been made in the identification of specific environmental factors and estimation of hereditary components in bone density, quantitative ultrasound (QUS), and bone turnover indices. By contrast, the search for specific genes that regulate bone mass has progressed rather slowly, and the results are more difficult to interpret and reproduce. This article reviews the genetics of osteoporosis and problems plaguing genetic research. It is argued that the search for genes involved in the expression of osteoporotic phenotypes should be based on linkage studies in relatively homogeneous populations. Strategies for increasing the power of studies, such as making use of information from extended pedigrees and multivariate analysis, are discussed. With the advent of a comprehensive human genetic linkage map, a complete identification of genes for osteoporosis appears feasible. Understanding the genetic mechanisms and their interactions with environmental factors should allow more focused and cost- effective osteoporosis prevention and treatment strategies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine