Background: Osteoporosis is a systemic skeletal disease characterised by reduced bone mineral density and increased susceptibility to fracture; these traits are highly heritable. Both common and rare copy number variants (CNVs) potentially affect the function of genes and may influence disease risk.
Aim: To identify CNVs associated with osteoporotic bone fracture risk.
Method: We performed a genome-wide CNV association study in 5178 individuals from a prospective cohort in the Netherlands, including 809 osteoporotic fracture cases, and performed in silico lookups and de novo genotyping to replicate in several independent studies.
Results: A rare (population prevalence 0.14%, 95% CI 0.03% to 0.24%) 210kb deletion located on chromosome 6p25.1 was associated with the risk of fracture (OR 32.58, 95% CI 3.95 to 1488.89; p=8.69x10(-5)). We performed an in silico meta-analysis in four studies with CNV microarray data and the association with fracture risk was replicated (OR 3.11, 95% CI 1.01 to 8.22; p=0.02). The prevalence of this deletion showed geographic diversity, being absent in additional samples from Australia, Canada, Poland, Iceland, Denmark, and Sweden, but present in the Netherlands (0.34%), Spain (0.33%), USA (0.23%), England (0.15%), Scotland (0.10%), and Ireland (0.06%), with insufficient evidence for association with fracture risk.
Conclusions: These results suggest that deletions in the 6p25.1 locus may predispose to higher risk of fracture in a subset of populations of European origin; larger and geographically restricted studies will be needed to confirm this regional association. This is a first step towards the evaluation of the role of rare CNVs in osteoporosis.