DOI: 10.1101/480426Dec 5, 2018Paper

The effect of plasma lipids and lipid lowering interventions on bone mineral density: a Mendelian randomization study

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
JIE ZHENGDavid M Evans


Statin treatment increases bone mineral density (BMD) and reduces fracture risk, but the underlying mechanism is unclear. We used Mendelian randomization (MR) to assess whether this relation is explained by a specific effect in response to statin use, or by a general effect of lipid-lowering. We utilized 400 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) robustly associated with plasma lipid levels and results from a heel BMD GWAS (derived from quantitative ultrasound) in 426,824 individuals from the UK Biobank. We performed univariate and multivariable MR analyses of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and triglyceride levels on BMD. To test whether the effect of statins on BMD was mediated by lowering lipid levels, MR was repeated with and without SNPs in the HMGCR region, the gene targeted by statins. Univariate MR analyses provided evidence for a causal effect of LDL-C on BMD (β = -0.060; -0.084 to -0.036; P = 4x10-6; standard deviation change in BMD per standard deviation change in LDL-C, with 95% CI), but not HDL or triglycerides. Multivariable MR analysis suggested that the effect of LDL-C on BMD was independent of HDL-C and triglycerides, and sensitivity analyses involving M...Continue Reading

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