Scientists identify genes linked to bone disease

PTI | | Updated on: May 31, 2011

Scientists have identified genes which they claim could increase the risk of developing Paget’s disease — a chronic and painful bone condition that causes inflammation and deformity.

An international team, which has provided new insights into the genetics of bone disease, says that the findings may allow future genetic profiling to identify people at risk of the metabolic bone disease, the ‘Nature Genetics’ reported.

According to the scientists, a large part of the genetic risk of Paget’s disease in individuals is accounted for by these genes, some of which are known to play important roles in bone metabolism, while others have not previously been linked to bone regulation.

Though they have not revealed the names of the genes, the scientists say these are likely to be important in bone health, and may also play a part in other bone diseases such as osteoporosis and bone cancer. However, further work will be required to explain how the identified genes are functionally linked to Paget’s disease — for example, altered gene expression, mutations that lead to gain or loss of function.

The relatively large impact of these genes suggests that it may be possible to use genetic profiling in the future to identify people at the risk of developing Paget’s disease, say the scientists led by the University of Western Australia.

Published on May 31, 2011
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