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03-03-2010 | Bone health | Article

DKK1 gene gene implicated in hip fracture risk


Free abstract

MedWire News: The dickkopf 1 gene (DKK1) may alter the risk for hip fracture in young men by altering hip axis length (HAL) but has no impact on bone mineral density (BMD), research suggests.

Previously, BMD and hip fracture risk in men has been found to be associated with variant forms of the low-density lipoprotein–related protein 5 (LRP5) gene, observe Wim Van Hul (University of Antwerp and University Hospital, Belgium) and co-workers.

To investigate further, the team assessed the impact of three DKK1 polymorphisms on BMD, hip geometry, and bone turnover in 783 White men aged 20–29 years. DKK1 may alter bone mass regulation pathways by binding to the LRPF receptor.

The researchers found no significant links between DKK1 polymorphisms and BMD or markers of bone turnover in the men.

However, for each minor allele of the DKK1 rs1569198 polymorphism, there was a significant 0.74-mm increase in HAL in the men, rising to 0.96 mm when studying only nonsedentary participants.

The association between the polymorphism and HAL remained after adjusting for BMD and height, Van Hul et al report in the journal Calcified Tissue International.

“This implicates an effect of the genetic variant on hip fracture risk as it has already been shown that each centimeter increase in HAL increases hip fracture risk by 50–80% depending on the study,” the researchers observe.

They conclude: “Despite the modest effect of the risk allele, it occurs at a high frequency… therefore, it is very likely to have a significant impact on public health.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Lynda Williams

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