The degeneration of
bony tissue is termed as osteoporosis
. In osteoporosis, the affected
bone becomes porous. This bone disease
is silent but highly distressing
and it generally affects the elderly people.
In Australia, about 25 percent of females with hip
fracture do not survive more than a year. The mortality is higher for men with
Age also affects the
female mortality. It is seen that females above 65 years are more prone to die
due to hip fracture than breast cancer.
The causes of osteoporosis are not well
defined and are hard to pin down.
Osteoporosis is known to be a genetically-linked disease,
however, the responsible gene is still unknown.
According to a
research published in the journal Nature Genetics, the experts from the
Diamantina Institute at The University of Queensland, have discovered double
the number of genes concerned with osteoporosis than previously believed. This
is a pioneer attempt as it is the first time that such a large number of
genetic variants (56) have been discovered that affect the Bone Mineral
Density (BMD) in people susceptible to fractures.
The scientists at the
University of Queensland Diamantina Institute (UQDI) are of the opinion that
fourteen of theses genetic variants are concerned with direct increase in the
risk of fracture.
Dual Energy X-Ray
Absorptiometry (DXA) is used to measure bone mineral density for diagnosis of
osteoporosis and for assessing the risk of fracture. This implies that a high BMD reduces the susceptibility to
Emma Duncan and Professor Matt Brown, the experts from UQDI led a group of
researchers from Australia, Europe, North America and East Asia. They analyzed
more than 50 different studies involving more than 80,000 people with DXA
scans. More than 30,000 fracture cases and 100,000 control cases were examined.
Osteoporosis Genetics Consortium played a key role in this recent paper. Our
own study, involving bone researchers from Australia, New Zealand and the
United Kingdom, and supported by the National Health and Medical Research
Council of Australia, was particularly important because of our unique approach
of recruiting individuals with more extreme bone density. This meant that
although we contributed a modest number of individuals to this current study,
their impact was disproportionately powerful; and as a consequence the
Australian contribution was the most powerful individual component of the
entire project overall," mentioned professor Emma Duncan.
The responsibility of
identifying the molecular pathways useful for therapeutic applications rested
with Dr. Dana Willner.
The study author and
Assistant Professor of Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, Dr. Fernando
Rivadeneira said, "Such potential
is highlighted by the identification (among others) of genes encoding proteins
that are currently subject to novel bone medications. Yet, even more
interesting is the identification of several factors that can constitute
targets for true bone-building drugs."
This important study
has improved the understanding of the fracture susceptibility, skeletal biology
and skeletal health.