Biino, Ginevra and Casula, Laura and De Terlizzi, Francesca and Adamo, Mauro and Vaccargiu, Simona and Francavilla, Marcella and Loi, Davide and Casti, Alberto and Atzori, Manuela and Cosso, Massimiliano and Marras, Francesca and Cepollaro, Chiara and Brandi, Maria Luisa and Pirastu, Mario (2010) Genetic architecture of hand quantitative ultrasound measures : a population-based study in a Sardinian genetic isolate. Bone, Vol. 46 (4), p. 1197-1203. eISSN 1873-2763. Article.
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It is now recognized that quantitative ultrasound (QUS) measures may predict osteoporotic fracture risk independently of bone mineral density. Although many studies have examined genetic and environmental components of bone mineral density and calcaneal QUS measures, few of them were addressed to phalangeal QUS phenotypes, and none to graphic trace parameters. This study aims to evaluate the relative contribution of genetics in the expression of phalangeal QUS traits in the adult healthy population of a Sardinian genetic isolate. Our sample includes 6056 men and women aged 30–103 years, from 43 extended pedigrees recruited in 10 villages of Ogliastra region in occasion of a large epidemiologic survey. Amplitude-dependent speed of sound (AD-SoS), fast wave amplitude (FWA), signal dynamic (SDy), bone transmission time (BTT) and ultrasound bone profile index (UBPI) were obtained from the non-dominant hand using the IGEA DBM Sonic Bone Profiler™. These phenotypes were first regressed on age, anthropometric and bioimpedance measures, serum calcium, phosphorus and alkaline phosphatase, alcohol and caffeine consumption, smoking status, exercise and also months since menopause and estrogens use in women. Adjusted QUS parameters were then analyzed by univariate and bivariate variance component models to obtain heritability estimates and genetic and environmental correlations. QUS parameters were correlated to age, anthropometric and bioimpedance measures, serum phosphorus, alkaline phosphatase and to reproductive history and menopause in women. All phenotypes demonstrated substantial heritabilities ranging from 0.29 ± 0.03 for SDy to 0.55 ± 0.03 for FWA. Proportion of variance due to all covariates ranged from 36% for SDy to 59% for BTT. Many significant genetic and environmental correlations were found between the different QUS measures. In this study, genetic factors appear to play a relevant role in determining hand QUS measures even when taking into account various important environmental factors. Furthermore, the modest genetic correlations may imply the existence of partially unique sets of genes affecting different QUS traits, thus suggesting that QUS parameters measure different properties of bone tissue.
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