Multiple analyses of large-scale genome-wide association study highlight new risk pathways in lumbar spine bone mineral density

Jinsong WeiKeshen Li


Osteoporosis is a common human complex disease. It is mainly characterized by low bone mineral density (BMD) and low-trauma osteoporotic fractures (OF). Until now, a large proportion of heritability has yet to be explained. The existing large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) provide strong support for the investigation of osteoporosis mechanisms using pathway analysis. Recent findings showed that different risk pathways may be involved in BMD in different tissues. Here, we conducted multiple pathway analyses of a large-scale lumbar spine BMD GWAS dataset (2,468,080 SNPs and 31,800 samples) using two published gene-based analysis software including ProxyGeneLD and the PLINK. Using BMD genes from ProxyGeneLD, we identified 51 significant KEGG pathways with adjusted P<0.01. Using BMD genes from PLINK, we identified 38 significant KEGG pathways with adjusted P<0.01. Interestingly, 33 pathways are shared in both methods. In summary, we not only identified the known risk pathway such as Wnt signaling, in which the top GWAS variants are significantly enriched, but also highlight some new risk pathways. Interestingly, evidence from further supports the involvement of these pathways in MBD.


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