Genetic analysis of serum osteocalcin and bone mineral in multigenerational Afro-Caribbean families
Osteocalcin (OC) is an important constituent of bone that is synthesized by osteoblasts. Serum levels of OC have been used as a biochemical marker of bone turnover. To identify the genes influencing variation in serum OC levels, we conducted a genome-wide scan in 429 individuals comprising 10 large multigenerational families. OC levels were measured by immunoassay, and genetic markers were typed at approximately 10-cM intervals across the genome. Quantitative trait linkage was tested using a multipoint analysis based on variance component methodology, adjusting for the effects of age, sex, and oral contraceptive use. Significance levels for linkage were obtained empirically, by Monte Carlo simulation. The heritability of OC levels in this population was 62 +/- 8%. We detected significant evidence for linkage between a quantitative trait locus influencing serum OC levels and markers on chromosome 16q, and suggestive evidence for linkage of OC levels with markers on chromosome 20q. The multipoint lod scores peaked at 3.35 on chromosome 16 and 2.78 on chromosome 20, corresponding to P values of 0.00004 and 0.00017, respectively. A potential candidate gene for bone formation in the linked region on chromosome 20 is CDMP1, which encodes cartilage-derived morphogenetic protein 1. Future studies should evaluate whether variation in CDMP1 or in other genes in the linked regions on chromosomes 16 and 20 influence the rate of bone turnover.