Determination of bone mineral density of the hip and spine in human pedigrees by genetic and life-style factors.

Deng HW, Chen WM, Conway T, Zhou Y, Davies KM, Stegman MR, Deng H and Recker RR

Genet Epidemiol (2000) 19:160-77

In 40 human pedigrees with 563 subjects, we evaluated the contribution of genetic and life-style factors (exercise, smoking, and alcohol consumption) and the interactions between non-genetic factors in determining bone mineral density (BMD) of the hip and spine. In our analysis, we adjusted for age, weight, height, menopausal status in females, life-style factors, and the significant interactions among these factors. For the spine and hip BMD, heritabilities (h(2)) (+/- SE) were, respectively, 0.68 (0.21) and 0.86 (0.28) in males and 0.64 (0.13) and 0.67 (0.14) in females. Exercise had significant beneficial effects for male spine BMD and female hip BMD. Alcohol consumption experienced in our sample had significant beneficial effects on hip BMD in both sexes. Although the main effect of smoking was not significant, there were significant interaction effects between smoking and other important factors (e.g., exercise, weight, alcohol consumption). For example, for female spine BMD, exercise had significant beneficial effects in smokers; however, its effect in non-smokers was non-significant. This result indicates that exercise may reduce deleterious effects of smoking (if any) on BMD, but may have minor effects in increasing BMD in non-smokers. The various interaction effects among risk factors explicitly revealed here for the first time indicate that the detailed effects and direction of individual risk factors may depend on the presence and magnitude of other factors. Weight invariably affected BMD of the hip and spine in both sexes. Age effects were significant for hip BMD, but not for male spine BMD.